Mastication

  • Crane your neck
  • to an eerie eyeful
  • of a stranger pursuing
  • a tree of mangoes and
  • your nightmare is alive;
  • worse still the deadlier
  • of the sinful and with
  • farther reaching effects
  • in a hungry nation which
  • seems unquenchable, almost
  • squeamish if not apologetic
  • of its deep rooted grumblings
  • and growlings and dreams that
  • are anathema to underdeveloped
  • and politically correct societies
  • answering for all but the accursed
  • who are inconveniently consumed
  • by the dirty yellow lard dripping
  • off clanging ladles churned
  • at first for years on end in
  • a dark damp pot with
  • curves teetering as it is
  • shoved aside, hidden,
  • till it is time –
  • Time for one hot meal
  • furtively snatched from
  • the wada pav stall perched
  • on the corner of the pothole,
  • unashamed of its nakedness
  • in the middle of tar dust and
  • somewhere nearby, sometimes
  • fallen angels appear in guises
  • deceptive of mirage like dishes:
  • chicken tikka masala flown in
  • from foreign twinkling shores
  • specially for patrons expected
  • while dying eyes stare in plenty
  • as these heavenly senses waft
  • by, crooking their smoky fingers,
  • winking, beckoning to be gulped
  • in mouthfuls of fiery little pieces
  • dancing in pools of red velvet;
  • daring to be ripped off from
  • their exclusivity and enjoyed
  • while screaming,
  • till it is time –
  • Time to eat, ticking,
  • dinner time, lunch or
  • even breakfast after
  • a pillow full of sleep:
  • an indulgence of the
  • many blind, and for
  • the few drooling that
  • crave the crispy edges
  • of hot samosas,
  • there is always
  • time for tea.
  • - Divya Mangwani

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