Archive for October, 2011

Cupcakes

October 28, 2011



For Diwali, Town Table, the best restaurant in Dehradun, actually the best in all the state of Uttarakhand, gifted my family 6 fantastic, fluffy American-style cupcakes. Mmmmmmmm.

Yesterday I ate one and it tasted as perfect as it looked.

Today, I looked forward to the kids’ bedtime all day, thinking about how my teeth will break the surface of the red velvet cupcake and how I will get frosting on my lips and crumbs all over my fingers.

But, alas! The cupcakes are not where I left them in the fridge. I fear the worst has happened. They have been eaten by another.

In a helix enchambered

October 26, 2011

Another story.

N doesn’t have kids. He’s 43 years old and has no plans to have kids in the future. N is a good guy, but just never wanted to be a father.

Last week his sister came to visit him with her two kids, ages 1 and 4. N lives in a beautiful house by the sea. He loves the water and spends entire days with his sandals, sketchbook, and swimsuit, capturing the pink curls of shells or the swell of warm waves. He finds great joy in the search for remarkable colors and shapes.

When his sister arrived, he decided to share the most beautiful spot he had found: a white sand beach with bioluminescence in the water. Live silver that can be touched. It was a 3 hour drive from his home by the sea. He packed the kids and his sister into his car. This story happened a long time ago, so the four took the ride with no air conditioner or fast food restaurant stops. The children cried and the backs of their legs stuck to the dark leather seats.

The group reached the beach just at sunset, when the bioluminescence was most magnificent. The older child whined that the beach at night was terrible. She clutched her pail and shovel, knowing that it was too dark to build a castle. The baby was very hungry and thirsty from all the heat.

N’s sister had a thought that lingered in her mind for years to come, open and spiraling like a nautilus.

Dear reader, finish my poem. Please also give it a title.

This Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons image is from the user Chris 73 and is freely available at //commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:NautilusCutawayLogarithmicSpiral.jpg under the creative commons cc-by-sa 3.0 license.

The Swastikas are Starting to Bother Me

October 25, 2011

A long time ago, when few people had watches to tell the time, a British soldier would stand in full dress uniform at the top of Gun Hill in Musoorie, proudly daring the Indian heat to sweat up his face. Every hour, on the exact moment of the hour’s birth, he heralded PROGRESS, the continuity of his country’s successful taming of India, the powerful mechanical moving forward of his stodgy world.

Or maybe he suffocated within his wet blanket of restrictive clothes, trying to cough out the impurities spewed by his time telling rifle. Maybe he cried at night and whispered his mother’s name as a thumb sucker, self soother: “England, England, England.” Maybe he was 17 years old, having lied his way into the army so he could leave his wooden dinner table with stale bread and butter and milk and not much else. His growling stomach became a mouth. It fought battles with his brain and took that over too. It fought his heart and won. The hunger empire. And now here he was, the skinny boy child, hoping he wouldn’t have the runs as bad as he did yesterday. It had taken him twenty two minutes crouching naked with the lye bar and bucket full of tepid water. And of course the uniform had not dried fully. Damp folds of cloth rubbed the open sores of his armpit. Poor chap had tried to buy talcum powder in the market, but the language barrier had been too great. Or maybe the people here just hated him.
_______________________________________________

In 2011, few people have watches to tell the time. Yes, some men sport status on their wrist and some grandmothers still use the wristwatch for its originally intended purpose. I, myself have a cell phone, but don’t want to flash it in advertisement of my supposed “rich westerner” status. I can’t afford to have it swiped with two small children depending on my ability to differentiate naptime from 25 minutes before naptime.
_____________________________________________


Someone speared a 4 foot long supple branch with dead leaves on the wall next to my new apartment door. They continued their decorating by chalking a white swastika at eye level on my wooden door. I think it was to make me feel welcome. For those of you that don’t know me: I am Jewish and am keenly aware that the swastika is an age old symbol. But in my mind, its corruption by Hitler is irreversible and I will never be able to see it as a symbol of anything but hatred or death. Swastikas are everywhere here: painted on cars and vikrams, adorning jewelry, and proudly displayed on people’s front doors. Even after 3 weeks here, I always shudder when I see one. They are one of the many reasons why I just can’t get comfortable here.