Sunday, December 20, 2009


Inspired by a couple of hours spent reading a book in the park today. Supposed to be fiction, but more a collection of impressions that a story. All characters are based on real people - complete strangers, except for a minor appearance by [drumroll please] me.

The park is cold today. The sky is dark overhead, no sunshine shining through the branches. I do my usual rounds, glad of the warm wool of my shawl, the silk of my salwar-kameez. Courting couples, a stern girl reading an orange book, gangs of boys, a family with a small muffled-up boy who smiles up at me.

I keep writing letters to you, letters I can't mail. I pile them up in my little wooden chest, one on top of the other, the older ones yellow and curling already. They keep me company these days.

There's an elderly man in a white kurta-pajama who comes every afternoon, accompanied by a teenaged boy. The boy holds the man's hand and walks him around the park a few times. The man's eyes are anxious, confused, scared. He doesn't know what's happening, why it's happening.

I've held on all this while because I thought it would be cowardice. But I'm tempted. Sometimes, I cross roads without looking either way. But always, somehow, I get to the other side. And I wonder why I did.

Sometimes I fantasize that I did die. Perhaps my body is lying on the blue road back there, streaming red blood onto the crevices. Perhaps it is only my soul, my spirit, that is walking on, unaware of the gathering people, the hushed voices. Any minute now, they'll come to take me to you. A golden chariot will land in the middle of the dirty road, and I'll ride away on it.

How does one know, anyway, when one is dead?
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