Now the octogenarian landlady has her family visiting,
and the tenant hears the familial arguments floating in.
This reminds him of his family, his childhood. He
remembers the cry of his crazy mother threatening to
leave the house “Once and for all, I’m leaving once and
for all”; those red red balls which were his father’s eyes;
the fist that was his younger brother; and, quite surprisingly,
he remembers himself – how, at twelve, he left the house
walking around the neighbourhood until he heard
his mother’s cry: “My son. Have you seen my son?”
He also remembers the time his parents fought,
the time when terror walked into the three room
apartment, opened the door to the master bedroom,
and finally entered their room to find the two brothers
staring into each other with eyes so full of fear. He
remembers scribbling behind his physics textbook:
The sound of a slap creates a vacuum.
Vacuum is the absence of air.
This is how he remembers his family,
this is how he misses them. Meanwhile,
just outside the dingy rented room they
still go on fighting; this should go on for
a few hours at least. He lights a cigarette.
Outside, the automatic water tank machine
repeats itself : the tank is filled up,
the tank is filled up.
~ Souradeep Roy
Souradeep Roy is currently pursuing a Master of Philosophy from the Department of English, University of Delhi, working on anthologies of Indian English poetry. His manuscript ‘Letters to Sneha’ was a finalist for the Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize 2015. During the day he works as an Assistant Editor at the Indian Writers’ Forum; in the evening he edits ‘damn you’, focusing on translations of contemporary Tibetan poetry written in English. Currently living away from home, he is trying to figure things out. Home is Calcutta, perhaps.