It is nearly a year since he died;
I have forgotten the date though.
Nearly twenty years senior to me
Though time isn't really a measure for anything.
Time hardly tells you the strength of the bond -
Why, one's siblings are very often the most distant.
Friendship takes seed - hardly does it need a moment
And it grows like Jack's beans, entwining the hearts into one.
He was a quiet person - a painter, photographer
He drew funny cartoons too, though
Looking at his tall, tired frame and wispy beard
You would take him for a philosopher.
In the early evenings, I would call on him-
Sitting on the verandah we would talk -
About murals and the passing of ways of life.
He would tell me about the old town
About the river, the lakes, the old brahmins
Who owned thousands of acres of paddy fields
The temples, staggering with age
And the murals on their cracked walls
In which women with globular breasts
And wasp-like waists
With their all-knowing eyes
Smiled like Mona Lisa
Demons brandished swords
Goddesses stomped on severed heads
Women flaunted their nudity
Before the lecherous boy-god.
My friend, in between pauses
Would borrow a cigarette from me
And smoke it, religiously.
Every time I see my friend’s name
As I skim through my mobile phone, I pause -
These two numbers I will never call
No one would answer either -
Yet I pause - and brood over these numbers
Unable to bring myself to delete them.
I look at my left thumb, wondering why
It would not move over and select
The delete button - then it does -
The phone asks " Delete?"
And all my thumb has to do is press 'yes' –
************* Balachandran V, Trivandrum 21.07.2009