I live in Chiplin, Maharashtra, a state in western India. I’ve been writing these ridiculous blog entries, claiming to be all sorts of people under the sun, for the simple purpose of stretching myself as a writer. Yes, I’m from India but as our actions ripple out across the globe as never before, I must strive to write from all sorts of points of view. This is the role of the 21st author. As the English poet John Keats imagined himself beneath the feathers of a bird, so too have I tried to imagine myself as a Korean student in Vancouver, an American president on an adventure in the Middle East and even a video game character in a story by Kafka. Only in fractured mosaics of the absurd can we hope to see everything.

  Today I’ve come out from beneath these disguises in order to honor the holy day of Gudi Padwa, the day that the world was created. This is our New Year’s Day and I wish all of you reading this the best.

  Peace.

 

To the Playground

 

   The family of four is so new to the town of Lighthouse that even the air is foreign. The cold and the rain on what would be a festive celebration back in India add insult to strangeness. Little Damayanti remembers the warmth of her grandmother’s long hugs. Today it’s Mother’s turn at work and Father has promised to take them to the park. Damayanti and her brother stare out the rain-streaked window of their tiny apartment.

    Father enters the room. He must think fast.

    “Today we’ll tell stories while we wait for the rain to clear,” he says, wondering how much time has been bought by stories since their arrival to America.

    “I don’t want a story,” Arjun frowns but Damayanti, two years his senior, sits patiently.

    “But today is Gudi Padwa and we must tell stories to honor our ancestors and the past and the goodness in this world,” Father smiles.

    The rain comes down in buckets and the window is a sampling of all the raindrops falling from the sky. 

    “Yes, look outside and that’s where the story starts. Do you see that tree across the street with the large pink petals? Isn’t a strange looking tree?”

   His children nod obediently.

   “It’s strange because those aren’t petals. They’re propellers. They’re blades from pink boats that sailed in Ravana’s fleet.”

   The children know this is fiction but the size of the flowers held up high on branches reaching up ten feet or more seems to deserve such an explanation. The tree is an oddity in bloom.

   “In the battle between Rama and Ravana that tree came to Rama’s aid. On the day of the battle, Ravana had commissioned pink ships that floated through the air under propellers. These ships caught Rama by surprise but from the earth one tree stretched itself as best it could in order to catch all the propeller blades of the ships. This it did with great sacrifice to itself for while the boats blustered in an attempt to free their propellers from its branches the entire tree was uprooted. This sacrifice bought Rama enough time to regroup his forces and strike Ravana from the side. At the end of the battle, Rama was so grateful to the tree that he not only replanted it but gave it the power to bloom in large pink petals to commemorate its heroic deed. This is what we’re looking at. Even here in this town in America.”

    For a second, the window holds the world in a frozen form and the raindrops hold their positions on the window.  It is a beautiful tree and their father has guaranteed that it will forever be fringed with joy. Nothing changes but a small drop suddenly slips under its weight and trails into the future.

   The rain will soon stop, their father assures them.

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