Delhi Diary-Almonds

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In the middle of the night I suddenly wake up. In my dream I stood in a damp and moist garden, heavily breathing and covered in thick, green leaves. At the other end of the garden I spotted an almond tree, slim but tall with beautiful white and pink blossoms. Slowly and hindered by the leaves that grew higher and higher till they reached my neck I walked towards the tree trying to read a scripture engraved in its trunk. I clearly remembered that with the tip of my thumb, the only part of my body not covered in green, I tried to touch the letters before I woke up- still heavily breathing. While walking a few hours later from the metro in Govind Puri to the hospital, I spot a man who sells fruit of all kinds: pomegranates,mangos, apples and papaya but today for the first time since I arrived I see a pile of green, fresh and young almonds stacked up neat and clean in a large basket. When later, after many hours of work I sit on the rooftop I listen to the radio downstairs were all the women are gathered around listening to Hindi pop music. The following advertisement praises the advantages of almond milk. Two hours later I eat tooth picking sweet baklava filled with almond paste while waiting for B. and D. I am not surprised that only a few seconds later I spot a mother on a terrace closely. Carefully and proud, she oils the long, thick, black tresses of her daughter. I would swear, there lingers a scent of almond oil in the air. Not too sweet, not too strong, just alight breeze in the late hours of the afternoon. „Can you grab a bag of peanuts on your way back?“, asks Mrs Rajasthani and I nod. At Bikanervala the best place in Delhi to buy all possible sweets and nuts, I get peanuts and while the vendor weighs the nuts he points at the almonds: „Fresh delivery, today, Ma’am“, he says and I smile but I shake my head slightly and add a package of Gulab Jamun for the dessert of tonight’s dinner. Back home, under the cold shower I remember with a sudden force the words I was waiting for to appear during the day. Now I again can feel them sharp underneath my ribs, a constant reminder that almonds were never just fruits or common nuts but a memory of loss and desire, still impossible to grasp or to count.

7 thoughts on “Delhi Diary-Almonds

  1. Yes, it is an astonishing piece and I am not surprised to find it in your magical garden. I have to read the second poem again and again. Celan’s world is full of wonder made into words. Thank you dearly for this reminder.

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