CELEBRATION OF LOCAL: CHANDRAMOHAN S

A LOCAL TRAIN CONVERSATION
Cricket is an Indian sport accidentally discovered by the English”-- Ashis Nandy
      
       As the station moves
        I glance at the
        Elderly man seated opposite me
        still like an inanimate cog in a wheel.

        His religious mark between his eye-brows
        a one-eyed search light
        Patrolling for moon-light indiscretions
        down the ages as the train furrows
        through a dimly lit tunnel.

        His insidious queries
        Incised with his Swiss-knife tongue
        Are like a handshake
        Prolonged to probe
        the pulse of my wrist.

        He tries assessing me with an in swinger first
        “What is your full name?”
        
         Then he tries an out swinger that seams a lot
        “and what is your father’s name?”

        By this time, he loses his nerve
        and tries on a swift Yorker
        “What is your caste?” 




A POSTHUMOUS LETTER

The specific traits of a Society correspond exactly to the untranslatable locutions of its language”—Jaun Paul Satre – Black Orpheus. (Tr: John Macombie)

I am a primate
dwelling in the wild forests
of my language.
My tongue lost irretrievably
in the swamp of hunger,
I hide amidst the barren rocks.
Your own selfie
sheds light on the swastikas
dangling like a locket
when you hide in the interstices of your alphabet.
My name had been a museum piece
Heaving my last breath like my dialect
before and after you live-streamed my scream.
(“the tyranny of real time”)
My language is an extinct variety of paddy.
It doesn't sprout in the clay used to sculpt my body.
I am a martyr of my language.

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