Showing posts from December, 2018

Angus Remembers Uncle B

They were seated around the table of a cramped London kitchen. In a tomato jumper, Uncle B was laughing and serving up spaghetti Bolognese. Angus was a small child, caught in a world of Simon and Garfunkel, colour and cigarette smoke, with his parents to one side. Another, shorter man in flared trousers was humming  Sound of Silence  and flicking through LPs in the background. Carlos – that was his name. On the night drive back to Suffolk, Angus’ father had argued with his mother’s green corduroy hat while he slid around in the back. No seatbelts. The temerity of it! Can you imagine the bloody fool?  Their voices lashed the heated air.  Who wouldn’t blackmail? Good riddance. Let him and his fairy friends bugger off and sink the bloody lot. Oh no. Uncle B, Carlos and their friends wrapped up in overcoats and scarves, sinking to the bottom of the ocean, tiaras tangling with fronds of seaweed. A postcard had arrived with a picture of a date palm and, on the large brown s

Men, Money & Morals

“How can I forget you brought me up single-handedly?” Suneet says. “You have turned 18, but for me you are still a kid,” Sumit, a year older, replies. “Weren’t we supposed to get 40 lakhs after reaching 18?” Suneet asks. “Yes. Some upper caste people were involved. Government announced compensation to prevent riots,” Sumit clarifies. “But why forty?” Suneet further queries. “Twenty each, mom and dad,” Sumit explains. “But where is the money?” Suneet continues. “Some more paperwork,” Sumit informs. “Why divide forty, when I can have sixty,” Suneet shoots Sumit dead. “A murder can also be staged,” Suneet nonchalantly remarks. Vijai Pant is  a freelance writer living in India.

The Yelling House

We didn’t always hear yelling and screaming coming from the Smith’s. They seemed like a nice family---WASPs who had four children, all smart in school, seemed to be normal and play games like catch and hide-and-seek in the yard and walked over when they were selling popcorn or candy bars for the school’s fundraisers. We always bought, though popcorn bothered our teeth and neither of us could eat the candy bars because of high blood sugar. We saved them and gave them out for Halloween.  When Mrs Smith left, abandoning her children, there was a relative who came to stay, maybe an aunt or grandmother, someone who we thought looked like their father, only shorter and more blonde, until Mr Smith hired a nanny, a heavy-set woman who wore a black and white apron over her dresses and who was dropped off by a variety of cars every day, except Sunday. We heard the mother had run off with someone else, that she liked to party, didn’t like taking care of children, talked on the phone all the


They were both prisoners of their minds. “ You don’t have to be a solo driver”, she said to him, Hoping to lighten his heart. He claimed it had the desired effect - At least some of the time. Both of them bore battle scars. Soldiers in the field, they stood shoulder to shoulder, Facing the same way – a cold wind blew As they stood staring into the midday sun Just after that last eclipse. He reassured her fears with his constant words – And a miniature universe was born. The phone lines between them were clear; No crackle, no static. Except for on one occasion When he was speaking and she could not hear his voice – Which was disturbing. She admired his tenacity - He kept on trying to get through. She made a map, and he stuck coloured pins on it, Markers to mark where they had been, And also where they were going. They could not see the edge of the map. He told her he wanted to be a land surveyor So sh

Building Wharf

‘I don’t knock myself out’ he said. ‘Mostly I just tinker.’ He was at it for six months. The wharf was a monolith - a construction made of wood and plastic that jutted out into the water. My father is an engineer - the wharf bore the hallmarks of his design. It floats upon the water - And will float there after his death, A momento. It’s something for his grandchildren to play on or dive off if they are game enough into the murky waters down, down, into the tangled weeds. It’s an entity for the ducks to perch on squawking to each other in their own special language duck-speak, unintelligible to the human ear. My father takes pride in the wharf It’s a retirement achievement A man needs hobbies To keep himself busy We all know what happens To idle hands Heaven forbid The devil should take his At this stage of life. I made a special trip to the family farm to see the wharf to find inspiration for this poem.