I live in a place where grandfathers and grandmothers relate stories told to them by their own grandfathers and grandmothers. In some cases, tales of torturous journeys across the deep dark waters of the Kala Pani are matched by memories of barrack yards cast with the sweat of slaves.
My own maternal grandfather would have, if we had asked him, reminisced about the parched, barefoot schoolyards of Guangzhou, his own engagement of the Kala Pani – and his midnight embrace, many years later, at Ramleela, with little Miss D’Hurieux whose parents told of masters past and present.
This is the place where stories are told. Houdini begat Atilla begat
Today, it is a place where silence reigns while the fat go hungry and the thin grow angry. A place of plenty, but a place of little. A flag flies on the barren island in the din of empty, metal drums and voices hoarse from empty laughter.
This is the place I call my home. It used to be a place that was my home. Freedom has fled the frame and seeks the shade of the treacherous Manchioneel.
If today the silence grows and prospers and prevails, it would be because we have shut up and let it reign. We, grandparents, are not telling the story anymore. The scores are written for us and we whistle them to no one in particular in the wind.
This, again, is the time for poetry and poets and foolish old men and women with stories to tell. Men and women who have the right to remain silent but who dare not exercise it.