Delhi Diary-Independence Day


Two nights full of dark and disturbing dreams. Mrs Rajasthani phones her mother to ask which tea helps best against evil spells. Their argument still goes on. The clouds hang low, the sky resembles a grey wall. Happy Independence Day, say I and give two eggs to the children. „Grow your own dinosaur“ it says on the eggs, and I think there are worse mottos for a national holiday than this one. The eyes have to be put in lukewarm water for the next twelve hours, but the children are too excited, racing back and forth to see if they can already spot a little crack in the eggshell. Mrs Rajasthani, who rules the kitchen curses me, them and all dinosaurs. I try to disappear calmly but without much success. While walking backwards out of the door I fall into the hands of Mr Rajasthani’s father who embraces me heartily and starts to quiz me about the 1857 mutiny, the last Mughal emperor, the Home Rule Movement of India and of course the Mahatma himself. I do not too great but I pass and reassuringly that this is the case Mr Rajasthani senior pats my back. He does so with patriotic energy and I cough like an old horse. Mrs Rajasthani serves Cauliflower paratha and after I finished two of them I am convinced I will never be able to move again. For an hour or so I just sit there dozing around,then the children come to drag me up: They want to let fly kites on the rooftop. We try our best but the kits are stubborn and the wind is mocking us with a blow here and a blow there and just when the kite is up in the air, the wind decides to rest and we finally give up. For the rest of the day I lazily settle on the sofa reading Rohinton Misthry’s „Such A Long Journey“ and do so with utter delight, watching the personage of the novel fail and stand-up, laugh a bit at their misery that is a total one, but not too loud. I  can not decide if I like the bank clerk Gustard Noble or if my true sympathies are with the strange Miss Kapitia, an expert on dark spells, who once decided to stop the time, but nothing of this truly matters. It is a book written for such an afternoon like this. The rain sets in and I remember Tagore’s poem of „Rain falling drip drop/ the river is overflowing“, the Yamuna has no water, just sewage but never let the truth come into a good poem. Then Mrs Rajasthani comes in, „cardamom tea“, she says, and holds a big cup under my nose, „against bad dreams, but drink it and now and don’t let it become too cool, will you?“ „No, I say, Mrs Rajasthani, I will have it right now.“

2 thoughts on “Delhi Diary-Independence Day

  1. You caught my attitude toward poetry exactly with „The Yamuna has no water, just sewage but never let the truth come into a good poem.“ I think that’s why I like to write poetry; it’s a break from writing memoir where I have to stick reasonably close to the truth. I enjoyed the slice of daily life you shared in this post.

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