Interpreter of neighborly themes
By: Rajbir Deswal
I am having a post dinner stroll in the front of our Seattle home. The pavement is well lit with yellow light. Life-sized hedge has a couple of silhouettes appear on it from the other slightly lesser bright side. They approach and materialise in front of me flashing a smile. I reciprocate when they stop by to pronounce the clichéd reference to the weather being so good.
“Yeah! It’ refreshing and salubrious here!” I add a comment. Finding me interested, they are now firm holding the ground to pull a conversation with me. “You come from India!”—is not a question asked in Redmond, for a sizable number of engineers and management professionals are Indians. I hum in affirmation and ask if they had been to India ever. “No! But would love to!” says the slightly hunch-backed woman who was till now just listening with a quirky smile on her face. I noticed she could hardly babble but spoke in a way that her partner repeated for me. The reported speech turned out to be very good content in English. The couple seemed to be academics.
Before I could tell the woman she had immaculate language to speak and luring content to taste and savour for me, she scored a first in telling me almost the same thing in the same celebrating vein. I felt pampered and tried further to fine-tune my account. I couldn’t resist the temptation of telling the couple about my pretensions of being some kind of a writer and that I also have dared to bring out a small anthology of poems titled “My Own Khajuraho”.
Obviously they found ‘Khajuraho’ to be some foreign word, when more than the appellation, I had to explain the other finer nuances and ‘sexplicit’ references, in a much milder way than starkly stated in the sculptures. Further pampered into a kind of gratification, I offered to loan a copy of “My Own Khajuraho” to them realising little that ‘sexplaining’ the theme would be more demanding than scripting a few more verses, on the wayside scattered stones, than the compromising idols!
A week later I received the book back, with a note neatly written and appropriately tucked between the leaves, saying: “Thank you for the loan of your book. You have a reverence and awe for the daily appearance of God in the scenery of our lives and you share it in a way that doesn’t invite us to gawk at each appearance but only to reflect. Thank you. Yours neighbour Susan Boe”
I got another couple in my own ‘Khajuraho’ besides adding another poem—of human relations. The neighbours’ reference to the Divine and interpretation of Him confirmed Khajuraho being a temple, built in hearts of people even if they belong elsewhere!