Is Lawrence here
after all these years?
Yes, Madam, so glad to see you back.
He has no clue of who I am
But we sit close on the deck chair I hire from him
and talk as long lost friends do
when they pick up threads effortlessly
to knit a new camaraderie
that we then wear close to our skins over the next four days.
His innocent smile now enmeshed into an ingratiating body
leans forward eagerly to provide
the moving shade,
the passion cocktail,
a boat ride,
friendship : whatever Madam wants
The conversation is better than at the cocktail party
in Mumbai last night.
The seasons have taught him to read the economic state of the
Finns and the East Europeans,
the socio-cultural nuances of the Israelis,
the psychological profile of Indian high-schoolers who descend
every summer after their stressful exams;
the routes of the narcotic mafia;
and a philosophy that is wise and Zen.
I am the student.
I learn not to eat crabs on a full-moon night,
recipes with kokum and curry,
the gradations of Roman Catholic community politics;
the intricacies of roadside commerce.
I learn how to pack the hookah that is sent down from Bangalore
every season with an assortment of flavors,
and how to smoke it nonchalantly.
I learn of the decadence of humanity
and the innocence of every sunset.
He is doing well now.
He has 18 chairs
and they all know him at the shacks.
I want to tell him he had 16 chairs five years ago
and wore the same Vodafone tee.
But he is happy
(and perhaps he is high
and I cannot always believe what he tells me )
and it is not he, but I, who needs to go away
every now and then
from my daily world
and take a break.
(c)Anita Vasudeva, Feb 2006