“through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us. . ."

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Way We Came

The other day I was reminded of my mother’s vagina

By the driver of a car.

He shouted, “where the fuck you looking at,

You mother-fucker!”

I had to slow down,

Sidle up on to the left embankment

Switch off and light a butt.

I was struck, not by the common obscenity

The one we men believe to be the ultimate sin

But by the banality of it.

It rolls so easily out of our mouths

Fornicating one’s mother

Which is the standard insult

The first one, they say

To leap, frothing, from the mouths

Of our friendly, neighbourhood policemen.

I was in fact, struck by the realization

That whether we ever thought of the way we came.

As my mother lay as she would have

Relieving herself of the baggage that was me

Knees raised and hip thrust forward

As the midwife urged, “Push! Push!”

Heaving, panting, groaning, moaning

She now lies like a cockroach, propped belly up.

I saw the way I came

Cleaning her privates, as she lay paralyzed

And oblivious, thankfully, to my presence

For she could not remember the past

Or be in the present any more.

It didn’t make me sad

But it saddened me when I wondered

If she knew.

If she did, she would have seethed with anger

At the utter helplessness, the abject humiliation of it.

I do not know;

Perhaps she would have loved me more, if she could.

I am a son; I never delivered a baby.

I do not know;

I am a man.

I do not know

Whether bringing a child to life

Is merely a biological function

Or the sublimation of life.

I do not know;

I am a father.

I am bereft of an umbilical cord

That I envy my wife for.

In the newspaper, article on hapless mothers

Left in old age homes to rot like dying trees.

On the streets old trees sawed off to make way for cars.

We are forgetting the ways we came

The shade they gave

The care they gave

The fruits of love they bore for us.

**************** Balachandran 12-10-2008, Trivandrum


  1. i now know. and yes it is the next thing to being god... i love being envied for this one... wonder if a woman would use the expletive!!! wonder if a mother would!!!! i guess not. :)

  2. This one hit me very hard, Balan. How we forget the ways we came! You excel yourself in this piece.


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