Books and Arts
Every Diwali, I explain to my friends at school why I am so tired—garba it’s like dancing—pujas? I guess like praying— I explain in fragments because even we don’t know why we wash statues with milk, why worshipping God takes so many coats. I don’t ask, just sit beside my mother when she sings. My sister and I watch our father struggle to cross his legs; his laughter resting on his lifted knees. He closes his eyes, pretending to pray. We believe my mother made this temple herself, found pictures and tiny murtis, gold coins with Shiva, rice and turmeric stored in tiny steel jars.
You get used to it, she said, meaning the delicate mechanism of the diamond drop passed on from her mother. She was fastening the clasp around my neck, meaning preparing me for the fumbling that inheritance presents, meaning death. You get used to it, she said, meaning being inserted into the dark and learning to call it something else—the way of all flesh, for instance.