Let me try to describe it. You open your mouth to take a taste, but it is like swallowing a thick river. Then you remember to sip, and the maneuver works. It is chocolate, but more so, in a cafe crowded for the weather, customers lined up for “hugs in mugs” ( TM) and hot mocha. I order two thin chocolate lemon peels, thinking of espresso. The taste complements, tart sweet. Actually, that is almost the name of a smoothie here, made with beets, cukes, and more good things. An eleven-year-old in this sweet shop orders it ; bless him.
This time in my aunt’s house, in Chennai. Can time be measured in circling ceiling fans, beating back the heat? In the afternoons, perhaps, but mornings, papers rustle, the breeze cool. It’s been almost ten years since I’ve been here last. The family has gotten smaller, and grief leaks. My father; my uncle. Meals are served, the rustling papers read. Outrage over the news. Could not a million be spent than in the personal acquisition of Princess Diana’s private letters? Imagine if that money was given to produce a play based on the letters instead. The best line I’ve recently read is in Interred with Their Bones, a novel by Jennifer Lee Carrell: “If you must choose a church, go to the theater.”
Yes, in India, musing about the royals, reading about Shakespeare, under a circling ceiling fan. Outside, the air is thick with the noise of traffic, worship, capitalism. The indifferent cows only come out at night.