This is not political. I do not read newspaper. I do not have a television. My facebook stays shut. I have no news to give you.
My sister shares thoughtful podcasts with me.
I do not have many friends to talk about the world. The world which is out there is getting darker, they say.
We are having Soybean curry for dinner tonight.
My daughter laughs. She laughs quite a lot. The world is still edible to her.
Pebbles roll between my teeth. I lose appetite sometimes.
A text on whatsapp: Companies will stop matching 401K.
I want a house. Not very big–three rooms and a bookshelf, the expensive kind. I can show you the list of books we want there. At least a hundred or, more. Me and him— whenever we are on the same bed, yellow and warm after a meal or sex (such a middleclass cliché) we built this house. Red-yellow-green bell peppers of dream.
And there will be some green patch in the backyard and batik curtains in the windows.
In America windows come with blinds. White, long, strips of plastic, does not fly much in the wind. “Blinds”—funny name for a window curtain.
I watch them every morning. Lying in bed without my glasses I watch those blinds grow luminous.
I have all my sarees in the suitcase.
All my bangles in a bag
All my blouses, all my bindis
All my friends
My husband suffers from aimless empathy. My husband is a soft person inside.
He cries sometimes when we pass a homeless man on our way to “Trader Joe’s”
Then he buys bread and banana, cookies sometimes and, goes to give that person.
I am not that soft. I stuff our cart, I have a “grocery list” app. I have twenty things to buy. I look at bunches of rosemary, basil and dill. You do not get these stuff in India.
My husband sounded blue and cloudy, yesterday.
-What is their fault, those people at the airport, in the airplane?
-It’s not in our control
– So should I go dance and eat as if everything is alright?
– Well there is no point cribbing, maybe you should go serve in an orphanage or something…
-will that solve the problems of those people stranded in the airport?
We fought in whispers, over the phone, the baby snored through at my belly. Then we were sour and exhausted. We hung up.
Baby cried out-one loud “naaa”…
Did she have a bad dream? “ei to ami”- I mumbled in her ears wrapping my hands around her. Her breathing evened.
In India, which is what I call my hometown from afar, baba goes to bazar, on his scooter. The Scooter is old. We are planning to retire him at our backyard. He will be there—half immersed in our backyard earth. And we will plant some moss in his carrier.
In India, girls are not safe. A man walked at me at the crowded Howrah station and pinched my breast. Another grabbed them in an empty gully. He came from behind. He rode a bicycle. I do not trust men who walk at me, I do not trust men who come from behind. Even if you talk about it (I did not), even if you don’t …nausea remains. Sand like inside the mother of pearl.
I want her to grow up free and full of color. Like a tree, I want her to have roots and air and water. I want her to walk the street fearless and like a petal, like a fire.
This is not at all political. This is personal.
I am falling. My tongue is separating from my mouth. My tongue is sad and floats in the ocean of alphabets from many languages. My tongue no longer sings a meaningful song.
Then in the blue eyes of foreign country I stare. Stare for long and wander at the shopping malls. Slender mannequins and deep fried egg-rolls rolls inside my mouth and I do not know what to buy.
In this apartment we have central AC and dishwasher. Internet is free and is a walking distance from the university.
My college was a cycling distance from my home. My college was a hundred and seventy six years old (we celebrated the foundation day) and sat by the River.
The uppermost room was for worship. Maa wanted a red waxed floor. We painted alpona on puja days.
In the bathroom, I sit and my face goes numb under my palms. The darkness is full.