Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Her house was a head of human hair

Vasantha wanted to visit the Palestinian refugee camp. Her husband, at his office in the Indian Embassy, had left her their second hand Mercedes. Iraq's empty roads, at that time, in the wake of the Revolution, were favourable to her essentially autobahn driving skills.
Though Iraq was a Secular Socialist Republic same as India, my Mother wasn't utterly stupid.
She took her 5 year old son with her on the excursion because Iraqi men- at least those who watched Indian films- tended to get amorous with Sari clad women.
Palestinian men, by contrast- and they came ferried to the camp in a better quality of Mercedes- were obviously shite.  Their French was better than my mother's. So she gave them an earful of German. They were instantly cowed.
Mother said- I will only speak to women.
I don't know what happened next. At that time, I liked Men. I didn't like, because I was only 5 years old, being marooned amongst women.

In a tiny shack- with slats missing from the roof- I saw my 'akka'- elder sister- lying in bed and looking after a bunch of smaller kids. They were taking plastic dolls and kitting them out in the uniform of the P.L.O. martyrdom seeking soldier.

Akka's legs had been damaged in the bombardment. But, she ran a clean house. I didn't and I don't and I will never know the seamstress' art.  Still, encouraged by the other children I tried.

I can still remember that Akka's Sun like face. It was all Mercy but also all Task.

When I was a kid, people couldn't compliment my parents (who were high status diplomats) on my intelligence or good looks because the lie was too obvious.  So they said- 'he doesn't need to pee that often'- which is true, coz I iz heat adapted Tamil black. Anyway, once Akka woke up to my Camel like continence, she thought she'd been harbouring an Angel all unawares and gave me the PLO doll she'd just completed.
Obviously, I only mention this because BY THE POWER OF SALMAN RUSHDIE that doll came to life and we had all sorts of transgressive sex and like talked philosophy and shit.
However, though to all this happened in '68, that wasn't a real possibility coz Akka was a genuine Akka. She'd have got on her crutches and taken me to pee or poo or whatever. But she also knew that foreign women- 'scented, dented' types as the son of our President puts it- would have a fucking orgasm at the sight of her ungainly hobbling around.
Indeed that's probably what the harridan running things wanted her to do. Get out of bed and gracelessly hobble in the great cause of my micturation. Mum explained that I was very good. Didn't pee or poo incessantly. As I said, it was- then- my one adult accomplishment.

Returning home, Mum said to Dad- they gave Vivek a PLO doll. Those auction at 1000 dinars. Pay them.
Dad said- we don't have the money. For God's sake don't take the car for long excursions without at least changing the oil.
What happened next?

Vivek gave the doll to the Saudi Ambassador and he paid a lot to that Akka. She didn't lose. She was able to walk and got married and had children.
Why? How?
The Iraqis and Saudis and so on were so stupid they thought India was dominated by Brahmins. Muslims were just window dressing. It so happened that my Dad was the 'Press Attache' in Baghdad. The Ambassador was Muslim. So, the Iraqis thought my Dad was the real power behind the throne who could order assassinations so as to preserve the Brahminical rule of the Nehru-Gandhis.

My mother responded to our visit to the Camp with a book of poetry titled 'my house is a head of human hair'. The Iraqis published it.
Mum knew as much German as those Ba'athists did.
What is queer is that echo of Celan.
Or not; the Seine soon claimed that worthless Jew.


In this our third year of Trajan, Elchasai
God's Sister, without asking why
Remits Majnun's Layla all but Night
Not our Evil, Ebionite.

Downstream, do thy Mandeans wade?
Those Tigris waters in which we played
 'fore, for Evil may, Elder Sister & I
Quaff the Milky Way, Elchasai!

Its marshes drained, does it yet baptise?
Or sell the tears of El's Akka eyes?
For Light was, let Shiduri cry
In Drink's darkness, I'm Elchasai!

Prince, of thy Third Persecution, the Second Pliny to quote
That we meet 'fore daylight is no crime to report.

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