I remember it vividly. It was December 2012, and there on a cold, grey mortuary slab, lay my mother’s eldest brother.
My uncle the herbalist, a tall, kind man with an angular face, who had had a smiling face and funny stories about his role in our independence struggle.
He knew all about medicinal roots, leaves, barks, flowers and grasses. Once, when I was ill, he brought me the ground bark of an indigenous tree whose name I don’t recall. It made me well again.
One day he couldn’t heal himself, and he had to go to hospital. He never left.
On cold days like this, I cannot help but remember the winter days we spent snuggled up under the covers, drinking hot, masala tea and watching inane shows to pass the time. In the evenings, we would cautiously venture out for some air, and spicy soup to warm the belly.
That was long ago. We scattered in the wind, didn’t we? I hope you found fertile ground, and that you’ve taken root wherever you are. I find myself perching on a delicate branch – a sparrow, waiting to soar on the next gentle breeze. I doubt I’ll fly your way though.
Today, I had a strange experience. I was in a roomful of sweetpotato scientists, including three of the winners of the 2016 World Food Prize (surprised that I know some very important people? Don’t be).
So, the strange experience: Someone said something about the media, and the first image that came to my mind was a tissue culture lab, shelves lined with rows of transparent test tubes. Inside them, tiny, green plantlets sitting delicately inside the nutrient media. Turns out the speaker was talking about photos and video repositories. I had to reboot.
“What am I turning in to?” I wondered.
There’s this person who comes up with the weirdest thoughts, which he feels compelled to share on Facebook. His name is Tigana.
I was trying not to succumb to the afternoon heat. I was losing. Three cups of water, two cups of hot over-sweetened black tea, two chapatis, a handful of groundnuts… nothing was working. It wasn’t Monday blues either (whatever that means). Continue reading
Everybody likes the rain. Well, not me. As soon as the water hits the ground, I’m racked by uncontrollable coughing fits. I don’t know why people say the smell of wet soil is like perfume to the senses. It’s excruciating.
I don’t like wet, sticky, brown mud. Children play in it. Piglets wallow in it. I’d rather jump over it and move on to cleaner things.
Some say that the sound of rain on the rooftop is like a gentle lullaby. I disagree. Water drops on the palm fronds outside my window keep me awake with worries of intruders.