Part 15

Bolts of silk and brocade, young women,
ornate silver jhumkas flashing as they
shook their heads, hennaed hands and
curly long hair, one holding up a swathe of
peacocks spun in gold and twilight blue to
her breast, another draping fiery orange,
the colour of a star in heat, around a slender
waist, the beginning of a giggle, hugging,
so much touching, an older woman, a

mother, an aunt, clutching a sequinned
purse, the air thick with chemicals and
anticipation, bangles jangling as dreams
awaken in sensuous mulberry pink. Looking
through a shop window into that many-hued
ache, I straightened the years that had fallen
on their sides like plastic dominoes. It might
have been nice, like that, the adults indulgent,
youth, somewhat innocent, somewhat lewd,

thrusting hips and limbs against softness,
life’s probability ratios worked out by the
length of a zipper, the transparency of fabric
and a familiar call in a stranger’s eyes. It could
have been like that. A maroon-brown saree
with zari borders for a willing bride. The motif
of celebration. Of auspicious starts. It should
have been like that. They say the longest night
is woven in bitter yarn: black warp, black weft.

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34 thoughts on “Part 15

  1. I love the poem. I can see the women, the colours, the smiles, feel the excitement of dressing for a wedding or event……love the photo, too!

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  2. I’m really glad I read this one and the previous one back to back. This does feel like an expansion of the feelings in the first one. Life and all of its activity are so joyfully and gloriously described, but there’s still the feeling of being haunted. Though this time it’s a haunting by thoughts of what could have been.

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  3. Most every young lady has a beautiful wedding in mine. I wished for your heroine to have her dreams about one come true and felt badly for her. Both my daughters had nice weddings as did Mrs. Jim and I. My first wife and I eloped but we did find a church. Two ladies having choir practice took time out to be our witnesses. I don’t think any of her next weddings were a big affair either. I wasn’t in invited.
    How about you and yours?
    ..

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  4. This brought tears to my eyes, Rajani. Maybe the cosmos rewards our suffering such disappointments by giving us rich imaginations. I wish it could have been so ❤

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  5. Since lyric has only I and a Thou for a subject, the past is jar filled with so many spices grown redolent with time. Going through past rooms with the imagination is like dreaming but has more will to it, more control: “Looking
    through a shop window into that many-hued / ache, I straightened the years that had fallen / on their sides like plastic dominoes” as well as narrative corrections: “it might have been nice,” “it could have been like that” and “it should have been like that” in the dance of one’s elder logos and youthful eros. Infinite yearning here in the lush weave of color and scent, measured by “life’s probability ratios worked out by the / length of a zipper, the transparency of fabric/ and a familiar call in a stranger’s eyes.” The window however remains intact and the poem is better for it.. Great stuff Rajani – Brendan (PS, the hurricane passed close but not too close. Happy to keep it “might have been”)

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    1. Thanks Priscilla. Zari is thread, typically gold or silver, that is woven into the fabric creating beautiful motifs- both contemporary and traditional. A bride would normally have a whole lot of zari in her wedding attire. Hope that helps!

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  6. This is wonderfully evocative, Rajani. I, too, so often turn to reverie, to how it might have been, or could have been…..sigh. Wonderfully written. I could see the women in all their finery.

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