Nagphani. And that steep incline to the top, after the level, walk-in-the-park bit… That thudding-heart clambering about on rocks and climbing on, ever upwards till that steep rock face with no toe-holds and no-shrubs-to-hold-for-dear-life incline Perhaps it was the slope of the treadmill or its speed, but while the doc continued to make polite conversation, the machine hummed and the probes recorded, that’s what I thought of. That stress test was neat, no fuss.*
I’m delighted to announce publication of a short story, Brittle, in Them Pretentious Basterds, a smart, cool magazine out of Chennai. The artwork is amazing.
(See page 45)
Other people, other places
Slices of memory, wisps really, that seep through the indifference of an ordinary existence. Sentences remain, disjointed, or the memory of a look, and add color to the arc of a life lived, somewhat. Sentences of unexpected concern permeate the thick cloak of an everyday-thick skin that one sheathes oneself in, the better to do battle with the contingencies of the day, and reminds one of the kindness that we bring to our transactions merely by being human.
Years later, these lines reach out of the ether and pour the salve of kindness and understanding on wounds that may otherwise remain raw lifelong.
The high school teacher, rumored to be from an old Chicago family, who’d brought life to history in small town India. Else all kings would have built roads and planted trees and had wells dug for travelers.
That sub-zero day in DC, and that tall lady in afro hairdo who’d taken pity on my shivering self, the trail of moisture from my eyes, and said, “ Your stole’s about falling off, dear.” Its been eight years, and yes, I remember. And its her I remember when I think of the US, and not the slights at check in.
That wizened tribal who’d offered us a hand up, that day that we’d gone to remote Amboli in a rattling, empty state transport bus. She’d almost lifted the parent and helped him alight.
Amazing what stays alive in this storehouse of memories.
The kindness of strangers on the writing circuit, sheer goodness that goes way beyond the scale. Rob of six sentences was the first to give me a break, my sentences terse and staccato, and strung along on a bonanza of commas. But his acceptances had helped me gather up and put together scattered parts of myself. A few lifetimes may not suffice to thank MS, who like an angel from some scripture, had stepped forth to direct me to the IWW that day in 2006. Yes, it has been as long..
And the generosity of strangers on IWW, strangers who’ve become closer than family in some ways.
How do you even begin to thank them?