Macbeth in Macbeth:
Out, out brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow inside home, a poor employee
That struts and frets his hour in the meeting,
and then is heard no more. Anyway, it was a meeting
set up by an idiot, full of sound and bossy fury,
Lear in King Lear
When we are born again, we cry, that we are come
To this great era of perpetual pantslessness.
Duke Senior in As You Like It
And this our life, exempt from public haunt
Finds happiness in sourdough bread, confidence in
And good in everything starting with ‘equal parts…
I never knew an extremely nonchalant window on a red brick building could be comforting to anyone ever, until that perpetually closed window before my balcony grabbed my attention. The window had opened.
A woman lay on a bed that was placed strategically next to the window to enable a clear view of the sky. Here was someone who seemed to have appeared magically overnight right before my balcony. She looked young. Her body was half-covered in a yellow sheet that brought some cheer to the otherwise plaintive visual I was part of, and a medical tube entered her nose…
I tested positive for Covid-19 two days ago along with my husband. We had been staying at home for a long time, not going out, not having anyone come over, and yet we got the dreaded virus. Our 9-year-old son tested negative.
Where’s Lady Macbeth in this? Please be patient.
The triggers came in when I got clear symptoms, fever, aches in the body; and to ensure faster medical attention, we took tests at the earliest. And what do you say when your worst fears are confirmed? A guttural ‘Et Tu Brute!’
Our little home world was shaken up. I…
Much of last year has been disorderly, to say the least. I did not get uninterrupted moments for writing, no thoughts or ideas or even the strength to finish half-done stories after the massive changes in life. This resulted in heaps of creative frustration that piled up within. I could, in fact, see the mountainous pile poking out of my head one morning. Not only that, I realized my creative frustration was showing its ugly side in unnatural ways, only to confound me and my actions.
That was precisely the day I decided to utilize some moments from the time…
The door opened, I saw my years running back.
A little walnut, still brown and hard, rested
on my hearth. Days of laughing childhood,
transient but fresh, joined the run.
Tiny promises, tiny dreams, tiny wishes,
and tiny nothings lost in a wilderness.
Little joys packed in hard shells, lived in
hiding. Treasure boxes locked in promises
never to be found again. Spring matured
to autumn, the leaves turned red. I stood
on the shore watching the white surf
carry my childhood away.
The child in me, wizened now, watched
a life unfold. For life is a color, one from
The little one sat in the balcony.
‘Pour water on me. I’m waiting,’ and he sat hiding his head between his hands.
A lovely sunny day gave the eight year old the sudden idea of getting wet in the balcony. It was an impulsive thought and he just played along with his impulses. He wanted to get wet in his track pants and tee. The idea spurred my parental instincts for a brief second, but I agreed. Since swimming is a thing of the past (merci Covid), for him, this was the closest to having some fun.
First, I sprinkled…
We steered our wooden oars in boats
gently floating on unchartered waters,
Brown oars etched with age, the constant
touch of blade against tide.
Moments rippled in soft notes, we lay silent
swaying with the music of time.
We know not how long our breaths lasted
Hopes were effervescent, the waters benign.
White surf played on, and nights returned,
pregnant with days again.
An unending cycle led us to waters birthing in
an abyss of time.
The dawn writhed, aching in the womb of sky.
We watched silent nights ripping through the
horizon; a fiery orange and a russet red
The piercing whistle of a pressure cooker early morning. Breakfast is getting ready in my neighbor’s home. Not in mine yet. I’m still savoring my first chai of the day.
The whirr of a blender. My mind bets its a smoothie. Safe bet.
The sweet tinkle of hollow metal chimes in someone’s balcony. It’s only the breeze, no spirits are involved.
The musical end of a laundry cycle. The washing machine is calling. The music is the same as in my home, and it makes me smile. We’re still here, all of us, living and still doing laundry.
My country, India, has been in complete lockdown since last month. Schools shut down abruptly, offices were closed, exams cancelled, and life suddenly found itself squished under the burgeoning impact of a microscopic pathogen. While I reeled to brace the sudden impact of a shutdown, I must admit the hard times helped me embrace minimalism in areas of my life I would have otherwise never really paid attention to.
In an endeavor to have a near-smooth sailing of the family especially since I have an eight year old at home, I learned that in times of global distress, it is…