Saturday, December 16, 2006


Poinsettias are a flash of red against green by the bridge, a nifty sunshine print.

The man in the next seat traversed continents to rest his father’s ashes; after forty years away this river, sky and land are still home. Just as the corner badam, mango by the wall and the jui creeper on the porch will witness mine someday.

From the plane, the window frames a perfect abstract at dawn, a red band dips past a peach background clean cut to the horizon.

15 comments:

abbagirl74 said...

Are you on a trip austere? Poinsettas are everywhere here as well.

Arunima said...

one question, not on poinsettas but how can someone maintain so many blogs?

austere said...

abbagirl- i was on a one day trip, zip in, zip out..


arunima-dunno. i just write here and do one off writing on roughpad.

Cherie! said...

Lovely. Glad to be able to comment here again.

Reshma said...

over here, poinsettias glorifies commercial holidays:)

austere said...

cherie- glad to have you read again.


reshma- hey! is that the reshma i used to know? comemrcial perhaps but arent they pretty too?!

crab said...

interesting u write this >> "after forty years ... " - some places/events/people are frozen in time ... forever! funny no Ben?

austere said...

crabbie- thoda touching tha. that old man had lived in africa and london all his life, still his ashes were brought home to rest.

manuscrypts said...

thou having bouts of wanderlust?

austere said...

tiny one day jhatkas of wanderlust, Manuji.

Sathya said...

Hi Aust,

Long time :)
Am back...

Poinsettas = ?

And started on those new year resolutions?

Proxima said...

You have a way with words Austere!

There is a certain grace and terror about the way Indian culture views death. I was in Southern India (Bangalore, Raichur aug-sept, 2004) and discovered India to be a land of many contradictions.

How was India? people asked when I got home. Horrible and beautiful I said.

I was just a white woman, nothing more, how agonizing to not be seen as the person "I" am.
I met people of the lowest caste, who hide in shadows, who were seen for what they represented and not for who "they" were. They cried just to be touched by me. I was humbled and embarassed.

They could not believe I came just to listen and not shove european religion down their thoats. When this was announced by the translator hordes of people seemingly appeared out of nowhere and I sat and listened to the shiny spirits who dwelled in banished bodies.

Proxima said...

P.s. The "Death Study" I mentioned on the frumpy professor is not online. THe Dept of Anthropology is not one of the UW's prized horses, biomedical research and computer engineering are.

Besides, death and dying are still taboo subjects here. I hope I have not caused Pipe Tobacco a lot of grief with my candor. I worried about it all night.

austere said...

SATHYA!
at my age you make NO resolutions..ask me why?

austere said...

Proxima
Part of the Indian attitude to death is passivity, acceptance- your time runs out, you get a fate card, so you go. Part is the belief that this birth is one of many, so many done and many more to go. I think most westerners would find India scary. (Sometimes I find it scary too, but mostly reassuring). There are so many contradictions, the very rich- abysmally poor living next door. So many people- much too many, and increasing. I feel uncomfortable, strange when I see roads without people in other lands- too used to the hustle and bustle.
Caste, you said. In large cities it does not matter- maybe I like to think that, maybe this is a comfortable delusion. In most states it’s a major political weapon (just as religion is) and charlatans will use this to get their seats. The caste card is now favoring the downtrodden, with reservations in universities, govt jobs and possibly the private sector too, working to their benefit. Versus this freebie attitude, a trickle down of economic prosperity is heart warming. People in slums want to send their kids to private schools. Ensure that their kids take tuition. If incomes improve, caste will be less important. You don’t ask the person standing next to you in the rush hour- barely breathing space commute what caste he belongs to.I find this confidence, that everyone has a chance- just thrilling.

I hope to be able to read your paper someday; maybe you’ll publish. Or maybe UW will think differently.

I think what you said was allright .I’ve mentioned a few times during the last illness that life is a process. Sometimes I was not gentle/nice.