Jeganathan Dushyanthan, Thiru and me
At the Gemba, by chance, sat to tea.
By all encompassing reason thrown aside,
Collected, brought back to shore by evening tide.
“So, machan, Vihanga” Dushy asks about Kaushi.
“That girl — that you know — where about and how she?”
The tea is tea, the plantain is plantain.
We talk bits of literature and a bit of A. Santhan.
“Incest is a taboo in all communities” once said the master.
But, of incest I recall the moment I pass her.
O’ you all fortunate foster child turning on Automan’s bowel,
(In all your arrogant assurance with an EM Forster novel
Rounding your mouth in kisses as if popping out a vowel)
As you walk past indignant with your head wrapped in a towel,
Thiru, the likes of you sitting by me
Are of a long foresworn destiny.
As much as you hold up the flap till the pill,
First you got to learn how to smile when you kill.
Be known, when you’re dispensed with a particle’s worth,
Like Troy, your fortunes are preset at birth.
For every cup that we may empty, to order more tea
A ceaseless hundred of ours, forever there will be.
Strange isn’t it, when we know that we’re a part of a script,
Where we undergo the directive and fake this ain’t it?
I, who am born to you,
Return to you what I bear.
I sup of you: inculcate your
Disarming stare. When you age and
When you need my towel the most
In essence, be known, that I’ll be there.
Jeganathan Dushyanthan — batchmate, Econ [Hons] — is a trainee manager at a leading bank. Thiruvarangan has, since his BA [Eng Hons] become my batchmate in a postgrad course.
Canteen tea is a past time, really. Not a nourishment factor. Gemba (for the non-scientist) is a students’ canteen at Peradeniya where, at times, they have plantains sold at Rs.10.
And, of course, “Kaushi” is Dushyanthan’s (and another 100s) campus crush / soft corner.