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Hinduism for its belief in idol worship and multiple gods, and here, his very obviously Muslim driver bore the name of Lord Indra: the council minister of every god. “Are you...a Hindu?” “In this country I am,” the driver replied. “One has to change.” “So you...?” “Ran away from Bangladesh. No jobs there.” What must Bangladesh look like? Do you miss it? Mr. Nair wanted to ask but didn’t. One has to change. As the car paced, the sprinting trees reminded him of a day when he ran for miles on the coast by the wavering waters of the Indian Ocean. What year was it? What time was it? He just remembered the waters gulping the sun, the viscous, cutting air, the endless beach— and his mother shouting, “Stop, you fool!” But Mr. Nair, with his little toes covered in sand, didn’t stop, he never stopped. He ran so far away from the coast and the coconut trees, the Southern simplicity of his tumbledown cottage, the cutting blades of grass, the boulders, the sea, that once he entered the streets of Delhi—so intricately packed with life, ambitions, and family—he began to miss himself. Memories of one evening running on the beach throbbed in his mind, as if the scene summed up a lifetime. One has to change. He realized that, after becoming a husband, a grandparent, a geologist, a professor, after the multiple becomings that he achieved, he had forgotten who he was in the first place. The guilt of such a realization haunted him—that the retirement he finally earned was devoid of his loving wife and child, as if his love, a phase, a mortality, never meant anything, as if his money couldn’t afford him happiness, as if nothing mattered. Solitude came with a tax; the people he loved had to leave him to remind him of his importance. His wife, who packed his lunch every morning before work, had to leave him one day so that every time he chopped onions the knives came to remind him of her love and her years of service. The objects began to not only remind him of her, but to become her. Tick-tock, a month later: Tickticki was still alive, his Aadhar card arrived, and he could, officially, die. Dear Mrs. Nair, I am ready to die. You are lucky you didn’t need an Aadhar card to die. I have taken care of all matters. I have asked Dubey to ring the bell three times and wait for me every morning for fifteen minutes. If I don’t wake up, he will break into the house and check if I’m alive. Sometimes I take such deep naps I think I’m dead. I wake up and forget what year it is. Sometimes I forget who I am. It is a humbling feeling to forget everything, but slowly I come to remember. I remember you. I remember me without you. I remember our son. He is well.




Profile for Oakland Arts Review

Oakland Arts Review Volume 4  

Oakland Arts Review Volume 4