Sunday, February 01, 2015

Mumbai Monsoon

—Rhony Bhopla, Sacramento

Torrents of our monsoon strike,
saturating the mud holes. 
fall the mud clots.  Fathers stand,
women know to stick twigs
into the open holes.
Push, push, push, there is no hole again.
Children look up to them, and smile
because they keep the Mumbai monsoon
out of their shared dinner bowl.

like the splashing feet of uniformed children
walking home with bushels of
dhania, wet.
This herb does not stay moist, it dries
like ink on a saree’s pallu.
Nobody likes that color, so
the pallu cracks.
Their screams carry the smell home, rushing through
diagonal spears of water streams.

Plooooffff, my eyelashes fall off
behind me as I walk through the city.
My dark DNA lines follow me,
a circumference of the torrent.

The wedding bells
have been taken down.
The miniature silver temple
against the wall
is filled with smoking incense, coloring
the eyecatching dieties with grey,
enveloping their open palms,
wide eyes, and the austere message
carried from ancestors.
The temple is a rhyme, the temple is a story,
its blackness brushes against my frock, still laden
with sequins.
There is no shine, just water, water, water.
Mumbai monsoon, take away this heaviness.
You have driven the coconut man away,
his blade sits idle.
You have stirred the yogis from their path.
You have brought down the torrent of finality.
I stand by the window listening to the ailing cries
of the bride’s mother.
Mumbai monsoon—the smoky bhartha
aromatic burning by lava,
masala and the wandering girth and hue
of chai, just now heating up
to pry us away from
the glitter of stones.

Word Key: 

dhania = coriander leaf
saree = 6 yard fabric wrapped and worn by women
pallu = the most adorned portion of the saree, the end of the fabric
bhartha = flesh of egg plant, extracted after the vegetable is cooked to a burn
masala = mixture of spices ground for cooking or tea
chai = hot drink made with loose black tea leaves, along with spices and roots