Sunday, February 6, 2011

Getting Inside A Book, Or Getting The Book Inside Of You

It began with the God inside me. Or was it the God without?
Of little things Bigged and Big things belittled
Whispers echoing back as a cry or shout.

The 'surprised puff' : Estha - was he really my brother,
Rahel - my name, Ammu - mu mother?
It's been twenty-three years and I know I am not a murderer
Not of Sophie Mol's, not of Velutha's either.

I remember the boat-rides on the Meenachal
The history-house is not just my refuge or sanctuary.
I still hear Baby Kochamma calling out "Satan in their eyes."
Ayemenem - where I was taught : how to love and despise.

The monsoon breeze sprays the droplets on my face
I wake as 'The God of Small Things' drops from my hands
I wipe my face off the Delhi monsoon shower
Wait! was there a drop of the Meenachal on my tongue?

Nah! But that was where I came from - a couple of hours ago
Flipping the page of 'Saving Ammu' for the seventh time
I realise I'm a part of the book; and the book, mine.

Never before had I smelled the soil, touched the breeze or heard the making of pickles this way in any other book
It's not a story of them but a reflection of me.
It's become my Bible, my water, my food
It envelopes me, binds me from all,
Into its world I find myself fall.

Am I not that pink blossom
Betwixt those large lotus leaves
Elevating me to a retreat I always wished of...
Am I not that small hope on its cover -
The Goddess of Little Things....The Goddess forever?

The book has grown to take roots in my soul
The 'silver-thimble' sprouting from my body's bowl
Its verdant green spreads from the cover,
Grows on my wall and washes beyond my window.
I see my grim Delhi backyard transforming
To the magic land of Ayemenem.

Ah I hear mother calling...
A brief disruption; oh I'll be back soon
Time to devote to my own life's goings-on
Till then, The God Of Small Things remains my favourite.
It's been more than a book for me -
They are my philosophers, my guides,
My mirrors, my teachers, the leaders of my life.

So now I get up and walk to my living-room.
"Some guests have arrived," mother says, "bring out some snacks.
A family it seems - come let me introduce them to you -
Baby Kochamma, Rahel, Estha and Ammu."