October 2020 - Issue No. 11
I Go Picking Seashells
I look at the deep blue sea,
stretching endlessly before me,
as I sit on the sands, alone, very alone,
pondering over the vicissitudes of life.
It has just been a day,
since I had buried my soul mate,
of forty-five odd years,
and grief was choking every pore of my body.
It would be so easy to walk into the sea
and do away with myself and my grief.
It would be easy to drown for I had never learned how to swim,
I rose; my mind made up to take the plunge.
At that moment, I catch sight of two young souls
with rags covering their malnourished bodies.
They were giggling and laughing,
and delightedly picking up shells from the sands.
I stop for a minute as I move towards the sea,
and instead, walk over to the two little cherubs.
I catch their eye and ask them what it is,
that is making them so happy.
The younger of the two pulls out a small bag,
and opens it carefully and lets me peep inside,
I see a multitude of multi-coloured shells,
in a variety of glorious rainbow hues.
I look at the two children in sudden wonder.
A thought pierces my heart like a vicious arrow.
In rags and with no food in their bellies,
these children can still find joy in picking seashells.
And here I am a grown-up,
unable to withstand my grief,
planning to walk into the glorious sea,
21 Days of Lockdown
Donna Abraham Tijo
When Coronavirus Comes Calling
A five-year-old declares, 'I wish to always have my favourite pancake in my world.'
An E-mail of Hope
He sent the e-mail to the school reserving seats for his daughter for the fall session. It’s in the new city they are relocating to. On the checklist, he ticks off School. House on Rent and Work Permit had been marked complete two weeks ago.
On the laptop screen, the ticker of the News channel scrolls, screaming in capital letters, ‘RESTRICTIONS ON INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL. COUNTRY IN LOCKDOWN.’
A minister in Germany commits suicide.
A prime minister apologizes. A genocide had gone amok under his leadership once and yet he rose oblivious to regret. I write and rewrite the previous sentence because I desperately want to blame the abstract noun, genocide. Why is it an abstract noun, anyway, when there are tangible bodies that give it a name? And what about a pogrom? The homeless from which can be touched and tossed with bamboo canes in shelters and hospitals to this day. Aren’t those the qualities of a concrete noun?
Well, the premier had expressed no guilt for turning away towards another spotlight then. And now, a virus has taken both over.
Suddenly, I think about the minister in Germany who felt deeply worried about his country before his final step and then I feel the severity of what we have in our hands, the virus obviously.
Cocoa and Biscuits
Saturday mornings were special occasions at our house when we were growing up. My friends begged to spend the night so they could be part of the Saturday morning ritual.
Mom would take out her green plastic bowl and splash in a little water, a little cocoa powder, some flour and sugar, stir it all up, put it in a pan on the stove, and then add a little milk and stir some more.
While the cocoa was heating up, the soft dough biscuits were baking in the oven. She made them from scratch — no boxes or mixes.
When the cocoa was taken off the stove and the biscuits removed from the oven, we eagerly grabbed a biscuit and tore it into bite-size pieces. In our hurry to devour the world’s best breakfast, we'd burn our fingers. Mom would laugh and tell us to wait.
We smothered the torn-up bits of biscuit with cocoa and topped it all off with a pat of butter. The butter melted into the cocoa, leaving a yellow smear on top. If there was any cocoa left on the plate, we'd grab another biscuit and mop up the remaining cocoa with it.
Afterwards my friends would go home and tell their moms about the wonderful breakfast we'd eaten and beg them to make it. They'd call my mom for the recipe, but there wasn’t one. Mom learned to make it from my Dad’s Mom, and she didn’t have a recipe either. Mom...