Embracing the deserts we find ourselves in / Kiran Gandhi

Desert is where one must go to get away from the sea

To find your constant amidst the shifting sands

The desert doesn’t call it summons

I still remember parts of that song sung by that wayfarer That bastard vagabond who predicted my death on my fourth birthday He who was yellow as sun baked ground and carried sand everywhere he went

Oh the Mighty may bestow this family with all bounty

Gratitude gratitude for this wondrous meal

Those who feed the starving will always have a seat at God’s table

This child whose birthday we celebrate

I see a desert death in his future

Sudden gloom fell over like rainclouds on an otherwise sunny day They said the wayfarer was drunk and speaking gibberish Yet it felt like they all believed what he prophesied I was playing with his dreads not realising he just spelled my doom His dreads fascinated me as if I found a new toy It was where water went to die I thought

Lose no hope there is way out of this eight

An amulet forged from the skin of desert snakes and ancient stories shall ward off death

My mother was a simple soul Folding laundry was her idea of a good time If there was a way out she wanted to try it As if there was a cheat code to skip the death level Men called her naïve and asked the vagabond to make him scarce Mother vowed that day to never let me go to a desert as long as she lived and breathed

Bid me farewell I exit this stage

I am no chronicler of grief

Only an observer of the human condition

Remember the desert doesn’t call it summons

Years passed There were other birthdays But none like my fourth Soon it was just an anecdote as chapters kept adding to my life As I grew older the number of people who cared about what happened to me dwindled I lived through first loves salary hikes heart breaks The fascination for deserts now reached its peak I hoped to find that wayfarer in one of those deserts Some strange nights I dream of him I ask him what is a desert He replies with a verse

Desert is anywhere the elements are harsh

Heat 

Cold 

Indifference

Resentment

Harshest deserts are the ones we make for ourselves

I finally decide to get out of the desert of my own making to explore the real one in search of my constant amidst the shifting sands


Kiran Gandhi is a writer from Kerala looking for humour even in desperate circumstances. A writer of literary fiction mainly, his short story ‘Reverse Swing’ was published as part of an anthology. He blogs at https://kirangandhiblog.wordpress.com/ where he shares his writing exploits and random observations. His work was also published as part of the #vss365 anthology of Very Short Stories (Volume One).  

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