I know these houses by Indu Parvathi


Art by Daisy Sims Hilditch

These balconies above the street jostle for space, yet stand in geometrical precision, outposts atop the rolling city. Hold on to me, let us float up gently to the silent balcony of another memory-house, a journey from present to past.

Sidestep the clothes fluttering on the line, warm sun tingling in them, then the pots of roses, balsams and curry leaves behind which spotted lizards chase each other in endless contention. Take care not to trip over the little girl’s bicycle in the corner, blades of evening light in its handlebars. Step in, moving aside the pale pink curtains to inhale incense and burnt coconut oil from the wicks in the brass lamp. on the shelf, six Krishna idols sit small to big in a row, with little peacock feathers and flutes, each one brought home in compulsive devotion from a different temple town. They all face the north east wall, may be beyond that; I think they can see us, intruders from the future. From the portraits on the wall , a family smile at you in airbrushed perfection, not a crease on their faces awash with light, not a hair out of place. We are inundated now… Spice and splutter from the kitchen, little feet clambering in, music, silhouettes gliding in and out; relive those evenings where a family grew older together, childhood blossoming into youth, young parenthood ripening into mellow middle age…

Life swelled and splayed into puddles in that apartment above the city. I am in that house when I see the young mother in her balcony with the baby snuggling into her hip, both watching the street below in abstracted fascination.

Indu Parvathi is a poet from Bengaluru, India. Her work has been published in various literary magazines and journals including Muse India,The Sunflower Collective, The Annual Journal of the Poetry Society of India, Indian Review, and Bangalore Review. The next issue of The Writers' Cafe Magazine will feature one of her poems. Authorspress published her first volume of poetry, On the Sidewalk in 2019. Follow her on Instagram.