Every month, The Bangalore Review recommends a reading list, also mentioning in brief why each book must be read. This month’s list has been compiled by the award winning Photographer and Barrister, Suchitra Vijayan.
“Need some help?”
“No, I don’t need your goddamn help, and yes, I took my medication today, thank you very much Nurse Hobson. Go have a seat in the family room. I’ll be in in a minute.”
“It’s not a sin to ask for help, you know.”
Mother’s hands hide her face. Her mother, with her arm around her, repeats the same sentence over and over. The television blares, reporters reporting the rig was aflame, exploded, and sunk. They say they’re all gone. No survivors. They say it over and over.
The next day, I asked her what she meant. She stooped down, and I felt the warm air leave her lungs in a soft wind. “Sometimes when our insides don’t match our outsides, our bodies become prisons. When that happens, we become sad. My insides don’t match my outsides, love.”
No wonder, you who know history,
read portents, now sleep uneasily,
blades wrapped in raw leather
tucked beneath your pillows.
Morning lines at the whetstone,
coffee and small chatter,
a dime’s blot of oil,
grinding steel on stone—
What if they did hear me far away, in France, India, or China? What if they ran around yelling, “Who is making that noise? Where is it coming from? What is it?” Maybe they would think it was an animal and set traps, or the radio and look for a different station.
“Say sorry Mita, ju leetle sinverguenza, pendeja for estupidez!
Her sharp words slice through the pineapples on the tropical wallpaper
of her tiny dark kitchen
scattering drops of sweet juice on my cheek
and on one eyelash that dangles in front of my pupil
too afraid to fall off
It is possible that the grandmother forgot the name of the cafe where she and the child were to meet Rose. It is possible she was lost, confused, or maybe dozed off. And, yes, it is possible that she never intended to meet Rose for lunch.
My name is Cecil Alfa Brown. Caroline told me I should write every day to keep my mind sharp. As silly as it sounds, I will do it for her. She may not know it, but she is my best and only friend left in this world, besides Phil.
there is life
happening across this world, around it, inside it at the instant tea touches your lips in the morning; you: not alone in your husk, it is happening, right now, you, me, separated by our skins