Art by Ashwin Chacko
A New Country Without a Post Office
In her newly inducted religion classes,
My mother has learnt and she repeats to me,
“The fastest thing that reaches the sky is prayer.”
The winter is here to stay, a country defenceless,
surrounded by all sides. We have been locked inside
for days, months, years; who can tell anymore for
how long we haven’t been warm? The raging cold is
a blanket above all citizens.“Ma when was the last
time it was so cold? Where is my sweater, Ma?”
I write to the radio jockey from this new country
where there is no internet. I want to listen to a song.
We cannot go out to post the letter. We have also
become the country without a post office.
My father, who has just finished his namaz, sings
the song for me. He loves Hindi film music. He knows
them all. I sit by the window and listen to him sing,
as white flakes blur the blue tomb up above.
How could a woman’s prayer reach the sky quickly?
Haven’t women always been banished, country less,
Godless? I would call my friend Eve, she would tell
you. We haven’t called anyone in days.
The snow is falling down fast and thick, the city
quieter than I have ever known. “Ma, has it always
been this cold?” She says nothing.
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