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Selection 18 of

Chalakudy

by Sunita Fernandes
With the first whine of the riverboat's
motor kicking into life, the afternoon's lazy
silence exploded.
The revving propeller left a
trail of rippled molten silver in its wake as it
sliced through the placid, thick,
green-black river.

Tall coconut palms stood like
sentries along the banks as if keeping guard
over the river's course as we
headed back.
I waved at children playing by the river-side.
A little boy waved back hesitantly.

Further ahead, thick clumps of trees
freshly washed by the monsoon rain
broke the continuity in the horizon.
Separating the river from the sky,
bending the river in its path towards
somewhere...

Later, the train to Bangalore
swayed on the tracks as it gathered
speed, its wheels churning forward to the
chant of my rosary.
Neon-green paddy stalks
stuck out neatly on flooded square
fields, yearning to bear fruit.

Stewards sold tea and coffee in
large steel cans, walking up and down
through all the coaches at least a
hundred times, within the two hours
before dinner.
Did they believe that all that
people ever did on the train was to
sip tea and drink coffee?

Selection 18 of


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