Wah Umkhrah | In Flood

Flow, river, flow
Your rage isn’t over yet
Flow because you’ve always flowed
Flow because it’s you
Flow by the bucketful, by the mug
By the drop
Come together and flow

Trample the bridges and levees
That stand in your way
Smash the tyrannical dams
That want to trap and use you
Swallow up the pride of men

Flow, river and carry the plastic bags,
Chemicals, faeces and dirt
Of this town
Spit out idols onto your banks
Let men know that you are forever
That Time and weather feed you

Show men the trickling erosion
Of your tongues that lap at cement foundations
Show us the might of that patience
Which carves out canyons from solid rock

Swiftly run, like your brothers and sisters
Like Godavari, Narmada, Tsangpo
Cut down temples, towns and high tensions
Deposit refuse and rot on backyards
Remind us you’re a God.

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Blue Light At Mawiong

We went out for a drive yesterday and stopping by a Mawiong shop – for cigarettes – I saw again the once-familiar blue fluorescence, emitted by one of those bulbs that is meant to attract insects. I remembered then my father’s mosquito zapper, which shone similarly. I remembered fiddling with it after his funeral. I then became morose with these thoughts. It’s funny how the mind works. How it can leave behind the chatter and wander off into a blue aura. How it can colour memory and animate the dead. Yet it is also the thing that reminds you that none of its figments are real.

How can it do this? Teleporting me to my father’s death-bedside, while my friends drink in the car. How can it show me these things now? The image of his body in a suit – eyes shut – with some hideous cotton up his nose. It is still, seen through curtains, which I dare not part. It is still, seen in no one’s company but my own. It is an image, which has lost some of its details over the years but not its power. It still breaks my heart.