A ride to the sea.

A ride to the sea in the trunk of a van. We miss the grand show of the orange ball disappearing over the blue waves. My mother holds my hand tightly as the waves come nipping at our heels. The feeling of sinking sand as the waves abandon us. A poem about the romance of the sea – forever meeting and forever parting. As my father and I walk with temporary footprints, he tells me the story of a god who walks on the beach and carries us when we are in trouble. Another god by the seaside clad in red and white flowers. Protected by the gods of the sea and the wind, her priest drops into my hand a leaf of blessings. A few flowers, vermilion, sandalwood paste and a slug. An unexpected visitor into the dealings between goddess and woman. I gently shift the vermilion crowned mollusc back into the wilderness of a tree and make my way through a small newspaper cone of sandy hot peanuts. As we finish the day with a story of the devout elephant caught in the clutches of a stubborn crocodile, I think of all the creatures, big and small, who grace our lives for a brief red moment.

My first day in Trivandrum

Sticky air on my skin. The green has taken over walls, doors and open grounds. My aunt who smiles exactly like my dad cuts our lunch plates from the foliage over her wall. The afternoon is ringed with stories and laughter as I try to follow the cadence of a language not quite my own. These stories of tragedies, intrigue, and disastrous haircuts are made rich with frothy embellishments as I watch my family exchange the currency of their memory. As the afternoon comes to a close, amidst hot cups of tea and crunchy tapioca, I begin to see how families can sometimes help us escape our inexplicable loneliness. And why we return to the complicated familiar like the salmon moving inevitably towards their spawning grounds.