25 July, 2007

The Day I Heard You Were Gone

By Annie Zaidi

The sun poured,
yellow leaves whistled down.
Heaps of seasonal letting-go
stood in my way and gardeners bent
over a late spring,
stuffing it into sacks
of green cloth.
The street struggled with smoking piles
of dry neem.

White and pink flowers stretched their lips
and smiled so much—it was grim.
Sun pouring down,
smoking winds spat in my eye,
yellow leaves skinned the air—why this?
Why in spring?
I slowed down under a neem
and caught a leaf.

What did it mean?

24 July, 2007

Thanks for the memories, beautiful

by Nipa Sahasrabuddhe

I've been in bad shape for weeks. I just cannot forget Shakti's face. Whenever I close my eyes, I see her smile and I hear her infectious laughter.

Her stay with me here in the US was one of the most important times of my life. Those months with her taught me to be happy with the things I have (she would point them out one by one), and not to whine about the little things. Most of all, she made me believe that raising a child and taking care of your husband were not nominal jobs. She would always tell me what a big and difficult task I was doing. She had more confidence in me than I did in myself.

And I remember her love for food. She would ask me to make simple dishes like bhinda ni kaadhi, and until she finished eating she would be saying, "Sexy food, Nipa, the kaadhi is orgasmic." Just broccoli with a pinch of salt would make her respond in the same way: she would totally enjoy it.

She took long walks with my daughter Aryaa so I could get some time to myself. She always said that they had meaningful conversations, that Aryaa had a philosophical mind and was a very wise kid. I have some great pictures of them together, Aryaa climbing all over her, trying to wake her up in the morning. They had a very special bond. Shakti would put on loud music and she, Aryaa and I would dance crazily. Life was always fun when she was around. Those were days when I did not like living in America. I missed my family and was always lonely. When Shakti moved in, I started enjoying myself. She would share her deepest secrets with me and talk about her emotions and feelings. Rajan, being the conservative one, made rules for her, that she had to be home by 9 P.M.. She tried very hard to respect his wishes, though she wasn't always successful.

I was packing for India when she announced that she had decided to marry Jeet. Shakti's role in my life didn't end with her marriage. When I returned to America with a yoga certification from India, Shakti encouraged me to start teaching yoga. She wrote up a resume so I could apply to various places. And she designed fliers for me. Without her encouragement, I wouldn't have done anything. I think she knew me well, knew how to push me so I would have the courage to do stuff.

I still cannot get over the shock of what happened, but I have decided that I will not cry anymore. I will think of all the beautiful memories she gave our family. I will just think of the difference her presence made to me and my daughter.