• silhouette of person flying a kite
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    Although our home is small, the rooms are sizable and airy, with twelve-foot ceilings. Clerestory windows above doors increase natural light and air circulation. A long open south-facing verandah runs the entire width of the building. Sudhir and I spend most of our mornings and evenings here in the open. Another staircase leads to an ...
  • silhouette of person flying a kite
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    “But, Mummy, the old man says this is the strongest maanjha (kite-flying twine).” Mummy smiles at seven-year-old Sudhir’s words and shakes her head. Then with a frown, she repeats, “No, it is not. This is kacha dhaga (raggedy weak thread) quite useless. You better go return it.” And hands the spool back to Sudhir, who ...
  • A buffalo being manually milked
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    Some mornings I wake up to a parade of memories—whiffs and tastes of childhood emerge from a dream and linger on vividly and wistfully. Moments ago, not quite awake, I savor the rich, warm buffalo milk in the kitchen of my early years. Then, in a flash, I am back in Mummy’s kitchen of long ...
  • MOTHERHOOD
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    She gave her birth, breathed life into her. Fed, caressed, soothed, punished. Comforted again. She got her to believe in all things unreal or what seemed real. But today, child’s grown enough to be self-reliant. She needs no womb, no feeds, nor caresses. Her own strength guides her, and she forms her own beliefs. Mother ...
  • Marbles and Gangajali
    184
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    Tulsi Bhua (aunt) is beside herself. She cannot find her Gangajali (a receptacle for holy water). Mummy is helping her search; it cannot just disappear. It is not a tiny thing that can fall through cracks. It is heavy, silvery, and shining, with a latched lid. And it holds the holy water from the river ...
  • Scene from the "Milni" Ceremony": Stand-in Brothers of Bride and Groom
    208
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    There is a strained quietness about the house. Mummy is terribly upset! Rita abandoned her Graduate Program at the University of Delhi after one semester and has returned to Bangalore. Too homesick! However, at Ravi’s encouragement, she has been applying to Canadian Universities. Her rationale is Ravi and Amita will be there, so I won’t ...
  • Stone Wall Wild Flowers
    183
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    When I started the search for my biological roots, I was innocent and naïve. It hadn’t crossed my mind that my family would deny and reject me. I thought the most significant hurdle would be just locating them. I had little information; being adopted was like that. It was the proverbial needle in the haystack.  ...
  • Image of London skyline
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    Considerable moonlight reaches even the darkest alleys and lights them up with a silvery haze. Throngs of people in raincoats take cabs or buses through serpentine streets to escape the storm. There is no knowing how long it will last. An hour. Two. More. Daylight is a funny thing here in London. It overextends its ...
  • Mother and Daughter
    197
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    All packed in the car for a visit to a family friend. I have come along for the ride—no school today.   Tenth-grade finals are looming, but the teenage me feels a little overwhelmed and needs a break. Even though I am stuck in the middle, wedged between Mrs. Bajaj and Mummy, I am enjoying the ...
  • An airplane in the sky
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    Travel is the voyage through time, an unmasking of places, people, and histories. In the rubble of civilizations exists story upon story, age in the chips of marble and the pores of brick. Touch them long enough, and the buildings shall speak of art, music, movements, and fight. Travel is the sip of pineapple, rum, ...