And you tire yourself out relentlessly looking for answers, when all you have to do is rephrase the question
At rest at the master’s whim.
Some servants weren’t allowed at temples.
Also, ordinary enough to be unnoticed.
Hence, safely made to wait. Unguarded.
Lepakshi, Andhra Pradesh, 2017
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Polonius said of Hamlet- Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.
A frenzied flurry of pain,
Follow the same old pattern,
Jump from one blood vessel to another-
Bursting each open.
Faces move past in a blur, like streetlights through the window of a speeding car.
It’s the first step I take every time.
Second, I pause at each face.
I am belted on to the driver’s seat, my left foot on the brake.
A maddening reluctance to feel safe, a desire to fall step by step,
Into a dark abyss of repetition. Of methodical heartbreak every time.
Like scientific results of frenzied experiments.
Maddening results repeated every time.
Who evades the fall? I ask.
Those who speed past faces…fall into an unimaginably circular habit,
Of not falling at all.
Keep going back and forth
To new faces and old,
New faces and old.
Because human actions are a methodical folly-
Repeated in circles and circles more.
Monochrome movements on a wide glass screen-
A bright white sun, white robed delivery at a church.
Stooped black heads moving like ants in line,
But the chains were all human sized.
And the cloth sacks failed to hide whipped backs.
A long black train raced through the image noise,
Or maybe was its cause-
Exhaling black smoke along its way,
A thick burnt smell filled my thoughts
Mixed with blood and yellowed pages.
But let me breathe, unlike raging fire in marble hearths
At winter cities during lavish tours.
It let me breathe, unlike burnt red chillies in the neighbouring Granny’s kitchen.
Because, it was a story of the past,
And I was only watching black heads coughing at black smoke on a wide glass screen.
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