Years after leaving primary school and losing faith
in God again, I heard our Guruji had died in an accident.
We never cursed him that much. We
only asked for Hindi holidays.
Someone else must have asked for his death.
Our Guruji had the biggest bike you’d ever see.
You should have heard the noise, and seen how
he revved up the engine. Each Monday and Friday,
we would gather flowers on a table, praying in unison,
hoping God would pluck his life.
We would scatter measured joy on the naked floor
whenever he was absent;
we were like sprightly antelopes.
To think that he, who called his twelve fingers
the Jyotirlingas and himself the seed of the universe,
was suddenly no more! I felt quite uneasy.
But what about the way he brought us boys buckets
full of diffidence; what about the way he brought
whippet-like pace to our tender heartbeats;
what about the way he brought terror
to rattle our fledgling bones.
I remember how football during
recess was never the same before his classes.
He always made us dance to his sinister tune,
and after each class with him, we were like
the carcass of an antelope killed after
a slow and savage chase.
I think the girls had only a dislocated shoelace.
But his hatred for us brought us together; at least
we learnt that weak sticks together make a solid bundle,
but girls became worse for us, except
for the kind one who was always by our side.
I’ll always rue how he made me
unlearn the language that my ancestors wrote,
the language I loved the most, the language
I’m still trying to fall in love with – again.
Born in 1983, Amit Parmessur has appeared in several literary magazines, including Transcendence, Ann Arbor Review, Salt, Black-Listed Magazine, Kalkion and Red Fez. He was nominated for the Pushcart Award and Best of the Web. Hailing from Mauritius he also writes in Creole. Sometimes he just wants to give it up all and become a billionaire.