Sunday, November 12, 2006

How do I say this?

She is upset
and regrets that he has behaved so contrarily
She is silent or curt when she speaks
She doesn’t look him in the eye
nor allows his touch to brush her
even casually.
But her eyes are alive
and she has left the window open
for him to make up
not overtly, not immediately.
He must be subtle and sensitive
and coax her gently, perhaps silently
He must apologize yet not be servile.
Gestures will help.
And casually, as if nothing ever happened,
she will be the same again.
perhaps in an hour, perhaps in a few days –
seldom longer

This is not a gender thing
We could have begun by saying
“He is upset…”

In Hindi, there is one word to describe this – “roothna”
In English, I struggle with sentences and paragraphs,
sometimes entire chapters.

(In appreciation of all you transcreators and translators)
(c) November 2006

Friday, November 10, 2006

Old School Ties I

35 years ago
a 15 year old boy
cried out for help, darkly,
through a swirling abyss
circled by desperately
clutching arms, black fighting white..
No one seemed to have listened.
Instead they gave him the prize for
'best artist of the year'.

35 years later
50 year old schoolboys
stand unsteadily on a cocktail forum
and express chaotic concern
over a mate whose status
in their limited evening lexicon
they can only describe as
'bad, very bad'
'like the peon in your office'.
They are a privileged class
and it hurts them to see
one of their own, fallen to a state
reserved for 'other' people.
They must lift him up
by the best means they know:

They mean well.

But one or two have heard
the quiet screams from that old canvas
and are collecting paints and brushes
and paper, and are booking galleries
so that 15 year old 'artist of the year'
can start speaking his own language again
so that he may be heard
so that someone may reply
and perhaps, he be set free.

There are always reasons to hope
There are always men
who will look deeply into you
and not let you down.