Mohabbat as an address | Sitara Suseelan

i scratched my hair in raving fury as
we lay in bed

Side by side
Enough distance between us

One coiled into a pillow while the other flat on back
awaiting in the patience of a dog

Side by side

Breath wise.

Our selves facing the open French windows to an April evening’s
alluvium winds
hungry as the rains
whipping the naive room fan air out of its living daylights.

Snapping from the reverie of her mind she gazes my way
and announces tentatively
“I want to cut your hair. It will help you get rid of the lice like you did to mine”

i inhale the petrichor in the air and say nothing.

She gets up from the bed, advances toward me in careful steps
And just as slowly as she arrives
i growl at her with a sudden pounce

To this drops her plan and her face and she runs away
with a wild, wounded cry in her voice

A dog barks somewhere. Incessantly.

She returns a few minutes later with a huge bed cushion- a shield
Like an ambivalent warrior on formidable terrain.

“Why did you do that to me”, she laments.
A benediction i offer to her spirit, her pluck.
To her return.
“I wanted to strike fear, no, caution into your heart so you never bother me
with that idea again”, i reply with a kind of insidiousness.
i become the serpent she seeks out to court.
But the beautiful girl falls on my lap, spreading her black sea tangle hair

always and again

and says; “Why did you cut my hair. Look if you hadn’t done that I would
have had this much hair”.

There is sorrow in her voice as she points this.

Stroking her wild curls gently, i hear thunder outside.

All this while all the skies did is dream up cameo lightning
madness descending upon us sometimes. Inevitably.

“God spoke to me yesterday Amma. And I don’t know what god told me but
I want to cut your hair”;
No, you cannot, i say one last time with my eyes.

This is when she mutates into a storm goddess,

a little goddess,
casting a wrath tossing the cushion on the floor, stomping off
in seared steps with a gale close on her heels
from my room to hers.

My ears catch her stirring watercolours in jars-
elixiristic potions, under the aegis of a
Kerala rain which marries the earth outside.

i recall that her eyebrows smell of incense sticks
because she believes it will help thicken them.

With the tempering of time, she makes an appearance at my door

always and again

with a spiritual toughness offers
me, “I am not your friend because you are love”,
a libation.

Always waiting on my breath
Forever knowing our breaths are interdependent.

In other words, Mohabbat.

Sitara Suseelan is a poet and a storyteller living in the sacred grotto of her home in Kochi, India.


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