Poems | Sudha K F

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Mutton Stew-curry 

Cooking Method:

 First the oil,
followed by onions and the spices
and then the ginger and the chillies; sauté it.
-That has become easy now,
though she is reminiscent of a time
when she didn’t know when to stop
frying the onions- translucent or golden brown?

Now the thin coconut milk,

mutton and vegetables.
Now she smiles with a feeling of safety;
everything has worked perfectly well.
She is way inside stable boundaries,
a little stressed about the fate of the dish,
but sure of this step, somewhat.

Next comes the pressure cooking

-The recipe says 6 whistles;
there begins the trouble.
‘Shall I open after 6?...... or more?’
She waits in the kitchen and chops
shallots for the garnish,
carefully waiting for the train of
whistles to start,
ears pricked up.

The whistles blow

And she counts 6.
She wants to count 7, but the recipe…
She opens after 6;
Taste testers come in ,but….:
‘ Ayyo! My  Mutton is not cooked enough.’

There starts the train of mistakes:

She is very scared now.
She puts it to pressure cook again
and is worried if the gravy will be too watery
and tries to remember if she added salt
with the crushed peppercorns
And Amme! Too many whistles have blown!

She finally opens it up

and it is more of a porridge than a stew-curry.
Now that she has truly got the recipe wrong,
‘I might as well make it my own’, she thought:
‘The smell is heavenly
Even without any distinguishable form,
I loved my mashed up messy (former) curry.

I actually quite like my (former) curry!’

Teehee :D

An Evening out for Two Friends

That evening,

we decide to go to
Manachira maithanam^
to eat the salted mangoes, cucmbers, pineapples
and everything under the sun that is salted here
like sweat/reflection/tears/love.

We buy the salted things

from the cart at the entrance
and walk into the maithanam.
We pause after twenty three steps
from the gate
and stand for two minutes looking around
searching for that ideal spot
to sit down
and consume these salted things.
A little bit of the tasty salt water starts oozing out of my hand.
Hers remain intact, secured in that plastic cover.

We finally walk up to a spot,

a little away from the centre
-the centre marked by that
newly installed sculpture,
the various crows and people
who were clever enough
to come early
and find such a cool shade
to fix postures on the grass,
and probably just sleep.

Finally we settle down

on the dry brown grass;
the salt water of my salted mango
trailing onto my kurta,
while her salted pineapple
and its water
 tightly wrapped up
in the cover still.

As soon as we sit down

there are at least  twenty three mosquitoes
who have decided to encircle my head
with that annoying keeeee sound,
as company to other things in my head
like for instance
the heaviness in my head
 that my way of loving beholds,
while her head remains dizzyingly vacant
from  mosquitoes or any such things
that come with love.
The vacant spot like a black hole
comes with her way of loving/not loving.

We both want a little of each:

That black hole
of dizzying vacancy;
the evidence
of organic life called mosquitoes,
on top of both our heads.

We both have finished the consumption

of our salted things;
we get up and hold our sticky salty hands
as the sun sets;
 there is pokkuveyyil
starting to cut through the leaves to come and rest on our faces.
We walk past the sculpture
and the people and the crows
hands still tightly clasped together;
One dizzyingly vacant black holed head
One with swarming mosquitoes.


^ Maithanam is the Malayalam word for an empty ground.