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Grandfather's Chrome Pendulum

Grandfather's chrome pendulum swung daily,
to the left, to the right, to the right.
And the rent was paid monthly- four rupees.

There were four births - Uncle Srini, Aunt Lalli, Father, Aunt Usha.
There was a death - Aunt Usha, age four.

Uncle Srini ne'er did well at school - but was a wizard with a cricket
ball. He never let Father into his games. He was apprenticed to a
workshop at seventeen.

Aunt Lalli was married at sixteen and went away. And delivered
three boys. And came back every year to claim jewellery, utensils,
gifts.

Father, eight, was sent away - or ran away - to boarding school.
There are different stories, and the only reliable witness, was made
of chrome swinging right and left.
The rent collector is dead.

Aunt Kamala came home - shy bride, and current tigress of the
family, not counting Aunt Lalli.
There are stories about who stole whose jewellery.

The only reliable witness, was made of chrome swinging right and
left.
The rent collector is dead.

The clock stopped long ago.
The house was sold.
The windowsill on which I sat to watch trains go by - I don't know
what happened to it.
Life is too busy for nostalgia.

Grandfather went to Trichy. Madurai. Rishikesh. Mantralayam.
Here. There. He spent all his money.
Then he died and took his stories to the pyre. But one.

In a bunch of neurons in my head,
in a ghosted house with a windowsill by which trains go by,
Grandfather's chrome pendulum swings daily,
to the left, to the right, to the left.
And the rent is paid monthly - four rupees.

Published in Remember, ed. Paragram; Four Point Press, Shepperton, 2014. ISBN: 978-0-9927123-2-7.

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