India !

Johannes Manjrekar


My childhood friend and I are sipping cane juice and hoping for a bit of breeze. It's been a searingly hot day. The stone of the bench is still hot, and a shroud of dust stirred up by the evening traffic hangs in the air. "Sometimes I feel old", says my friend.
"It's the bench", I reply, but nod me-too in agreement.
A truck packed with soldiers in their camouflage fatigues drives by in a cloud of dust.
"All those young people trained to kill other young people who've been declared enemies", I comment.
"Sometimes I think we're just a bunch of wolf packs that have become too smart for their own good", says my friend.
"Sometimes I think it's time you found a nice quiet place in the hills", I reply, voicing a secret dream of my own.
"Sometimes I think you really believe what you say", says my friend.
"Most times I do. It's the other times that are difficult."
"Ah, those Sometimes. Maybe they're actually there all the time."
"Maybe. Sometimes I think that on a hot day cold beer is better than cane juice."
"No, but really. Sometimes I do feel old these days."

"It's the heat", I say without conviction.

A truck rumbles by -
the smell of jasmine
mingles with the dust


Copyright Johannes Manjrekar, 2009