Bird Beak, Crocodile Mouth

Comparison is the death of joy. ~ Mark Twain

“ Does anyone know what this sign means?” the teacher tapped the blackboard with the duster, next to the symbol she had drawn.

Being a precocious child I could see that the question was a rhetorical one and that our teacher was using it as a pretext to pour herself a cup of tea. Of course, I couldn’t say that aloud so I kept the thoughts of my prodigious mind to myself and pretended to be pondering the question deeply. I was mimicking a statue to great effect, with my hand resting below my chin to lend credence to my being lost in thought, when a voice spoke up from the back of the room.

“ It means multiplication ma’am.”

The teacher swung around searching for the voice, her sari swirling on the floor and creating a little chalk-dust cloud. Continue reading

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Two-Act Tragedy (Part II)

This is a continuation of the semi-fictionalized Two-Act Tragedy post.

“ Can I be a tree?” I asked Vidya as we got into the taxi.

“ Yeah totally…wait what? A tree?” she looked up from her phone, her forehead wrinkled.

“ Never mind, an inside joke.” I turned to look out of the window, trying to catch my first glimpse of Singapore.

As the taxi pulled out of the airport I saw a distant green canopy, as more of the city came into view I forgot about the dance and glued myself to the window noting the familiar, and staring at the strange.
Continue reading

Two-Act Tragedy (Part I)

“ But what are we going to do about him?” Radhika* — a senior and our dance ‘mentor’ — said, pointing towards me with a not-so-discreet gesture. I felt 4 pair of eyes fix their baleful gaze on me. My skin prickled. I took out a book and pretended to peruse it with great interest (it was a biology textbook with a bulbous frog on the cover and the diagrams inside could induce nausea in the stoutest hearted; I don’t think my charade was all that convincing). Continue reading