Yesha Shah – India
Nine and Three Quarters
Dizzy is what I feel
standing on my scooter at this unusually
long traffic signal under the torrid-again
sun. Every inch of me longs to go home and
sink into the couch with a cup of adrak
chai. We’re at the cusp of seasons and
allergies have kept their date with the
watching over my child
the pale moon and I
At home, I’m greeted by my visibly harried
domestic help. The kids have hidden her
broom and feather duster. She complained
that my daughter threatened to turn her
into an owl; chanting mumbo-jumbo, her
hair let loose, pointing the rolling pin
at her, while my son warned her that they
possess a book of witch-craft.
It is their sick leave from school today,
and I am expected to be lenient. Summoned,
they emerge from their room sheepishly, a
sweeping-long black cape around their
shoulders ─courtesy an old bed sheet
sheared into two.
All through the drama there are persistent
giggles from the domestic help’s daughter.
They’ve won her over with an old colouring
book and crayon stumps.
Compelled by my steady glare, they scurry
back to their room emerging cloak-less and
return the booty. Scribbled bold in red
marker on the broom’s plastic end are the
words: Nimbus 2000.
my pre-schooler inks
his index finger