History Book

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Contributor: Adreyo Sen

Families are their own
and record keepers.

But their records are haphazard.
Not the oral ones.
Those are immaculate.

Some of the history books
are grey-haired
and some of the history books
have forgotten their past,
but most family records
are tiny and small,
with odd noses and an
alarming tendency
to accelerate.

Yesterday, Jo displayed,
not finding her favourite
teddy bear,
and suspecting Rita of taking it,
the genesis of her Nana’s
famous tantrums.

Her rage was short, but like Gran da,
extremely loud,
there was the same slight,
fiercely fought,
quaver to her voice.
She fought back her tears
the same way.
She admonished us with a tiny replica
of his finger.

Jo joined us two years
after her Gran da died.
This was Gran da’s revenge.
To record himself in a child
so horrifically self-willed,
so little interested
in who her Nana had been,
in who we were.

But Jo was still blessed,
unlike her poor Gran da,
who moped for hours after
one of his famous and all-too
frequent fits, stricken at the thought
he could have hurt someone.

(He never did.
Nana’s temper was part
of his worrying sweetness.)

Madam Jo, on the other hand,
collects her teddy bear and her
diaries, favours a cousin
with calm patronizing,
climbs into her lap
and falls asleep.

- - -
Adreyo Sen, based in Kolkata, hopes to become a full-time writer. She did her undergraduate work in English and her postgraduate work in English and Sociology. Adreyo has been published in Danse Macabre and Kritya.


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