For many years they’d not seen each other,
may be forty.
Brother had migrated to the States
when she was little,
may be five, or subtract fifty-four from sixty.
Many things had grown and shrunk.
She’d gotten married like him
and borne three beautiful children
ready to have nests of their own.
Then asudden, a letter came from brother
that he was coming down to see her.
Sister’s beatitude knew no bounds
Redress the house
Bring this, bring that, New curtains, new rug
new cutlery, matching china
floral sheets, co-ordinated quilts
Everyone in the lane knew
Something’s the matter in Singh’s house;
the brother was coming
the brother was coming.
A bizarre thing happened;
the flight came early,
much earlier than reckoned
She was getting ready for a shower
when the house resounded with the buzzer.
Doors ajar, brother and his wife smiled ear to ear
hugs, tight hugs, long hugs later
Childhoods and youths were relived
in oral manner.
Some two months after
a relative was heard conveying
that the brother’s wife was saying,
“…when she’d hugged the sister
she’d smelled really bad,
of sweat and spices and body sap.”
The sister who’d woken
before the earliest lark
on a hot and humid day
while it was still dark,
to make the best dishes
for her brother
and had wanted to shower.
(The painting ‘Sadness, Sunset and Elm’ is done in watercolor and gouache on a 9×6″ hot pressed paper)