Two Days in Tamil Nadu

“Äre you sure you’re my daughter’s son? You seem to be losing it.” {The street outside the Alangudi temporary living quarters.

MAY 28 — It was three years since the last trip, and it was overdue. To Tamil Nadu.

Arrived at Tiruchirappalli Airport, which has a dryness the competent staff members replicate. But my mind was on Muthu outside waiting for his lost cousin, well lost in more ways than one.

They don’t usually put on T-shirts in Tamil homeland, so I stuck out like a sore thumb on this Friday in a crowd of people looking quite alike.

Only 9am, but already a warm May day as Muthu weaved through the traffic at the main thoroughfare outside the airport heading to the first toll stop, for the two-hour drive to Alangudi, my mom’s village.

He was even chattier than usual, and we were in a rental, the house jeep was in the workshop. It takes time he said when it’s the brake and they’d have to dismantle it. The dismantling was required he asserted. I nodded. Continue reading “Two Days in Tamil Nadu”

May 13 In The Closet

Kuala Lumpur, after.

MAY 14 — It was a word which ended conversations or contestations. Even fifty years later.

One word, and it was not appropriate to pursue the matter any further, usually concerning race relations.

We grew up letting, May 13, have so much sway over us without knowing more than the basic details. We, the children born in the decade following 1969.

People were proud, people kept talking, people voted, angry reactions and people died. Then it was decided, no more.

A generation of young people told, and then it was the 1990s.

The new millennium and student turns to become teacher. They tell the generation, a retelling of their version of the past, relying on the gravitas of the story, not the details.

Here, in the present, 2019, all of us mired in fear and cautious of shadows, lurking, ghosts really. Reminding if we fail to learn, it will turn bad. Continue reading “May 13 In The Closet”