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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 9, Number 2, June 2015


Yesha Shah
Surat, Gujarat, India


The upstairs room in my childhood home is filled to the rafters with memories. During our summer stay, my daughter loves to rummage through my belongings and gather little knick-knacks for herself. Flapping open the Velcro fastened plastic folder she has discovered today, I find myself travelling back in time to the blue skies, blue sea, beige sands, red soil and the green swaying coconut palms of the incessantly rainy Mangalore. Inside the folder are bunches of letters in pale yellow inland envelopes, all of them handwritten, sent to me during those college years spent far away from home. Most of them are long letters from my Ma, written on plain white computer sheets with holes punched on their borders. I just have to glance at any of those pages and I instantly recognize the rounded edges of her writing; in others I am re-acquainted with the sharp pointed ends of Dad’s words, the exquisite print-like Gujarati font of my best friend, the quivering strokes of Grandpa’s hand that speak of his last days in Canada.

An old postman in his khaki uniform cycled his way into the snaky little by-lane of Manna gudda gurji every Saturday. Amid the scent of petrichor in the evening breeze, a hint of rainbow over the horizon, the chirping of homing birds, nestled in a hammock swing, I read my letters.

summer song
in the koel bird’s coo
even today
the China glass jars smell
of Grandma’s mango pickles



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