Pondicherry

When Ma got the call from Shillong that my grandfather had died, she was frying puris in the kitchen. I was hunched over a book, the cushions of the couch pressed against me, my head half in the book, half in Ma’s puris, the golden puffed balls of wheat baptized by fire and oil in her kadhai. When the phone rang, she ran from the kitchen and I pushed myself from the couch to lower the flame on the stove. She often forgot such things, which would then result in a lot of smoke and grief.

“Dadu died, Dadu died, Dadu died.” I heard her cries like shrieks, and slipping on the cement floor of our house, I ran to her. She was sitting on the floor weeping and crying out in English and Bengali, “Dadu aar nei, Dadu aar nei.” Dadu is no more.

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