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A good friend has a story up on Strange Horizons today: Nira and I—go show it some love (you'll be thankful you did).

Nira and I are with Hemal on the day she dies. She is teaching us a clapping song game, a remembering game. She is winning.

We call Hemal by name, though that breaks respect law because she is my mother's younger sister. She says being called jal-amaa makes her feel old. She is sixteen, which is old; Nira and I are five.

My amaa opens the door screen and says, "Hemal, we must talk. Nira, go home; your amaa will worry."

Hemal's eyebrows pull together, scrunching up her caste marks, like maybe she ate all the butter or forgot to douse the cookfire. She gets up and ruffles my hair. "I'll be back soon, little ones."

(read more...)

And after that, come back here and read these "Nine Things About Oracles" poems (Shweta's is "the" in the following links), which is part of an interesting series inspired by a pendant so named. Here are some of the other contributions by lj folks--and then mine, below. ;)

Hah, couldn't get away from me without my posting a poem! —

Nine Things About Oracles

By now, you should have seen it coming; but
vision is only one sense, and
we lie to ourselves with so many--
the cat came back to tell you
every time, but you only listened
to spiders: weaving
a tapestry you'd looked at so many times
that you confused cause and effect
batting at the kitten's paws to
keep it from the yarn: tales
told in the telling, sheared
from dreams counted in the vapors
of fumes the old ones breathed
to talk to you (themselves)--
you see yourself and are surprised
(nine times) the yarn comes back
to where it started.



( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 16th, 2009 07:41 pm (UTC)
I was impressed with the short story and I liked the poem. Is the author Indian? I thought that because of the cast system in the story. I loved the imagery of the mist and the atmosphere.
Mar. 16th, 2009 07:44 pm (UTC)
She is, though she's also variously British and Californian (and a few other things to boot). She's a very poetic and fantastical writer and artist (GUD's published a story and a sketch of hers so far; and another story upcoming in the next issue). :)
Mar. 17th, 2009 08:05 am (UTC)
Thank you!
And to clarify Kaolin's response, I'm an Indian national but I've lived all over :)

The society's rigid because of their reaction to the mist, but that rigidity is caste-based because of my background. The setting's influenced by several areas of South(-east) Asia, but the caste system was too perfect not to use.

All the different laws are more a reaction to my time in Saudi Arabia than my time in India, though; the religious police stuck with me, rather.
Mar. 17th, 2009 12:57 pm (UTC)
Oh my word...LOL...Thanks for clarifying that.

I enjoy your writing so much. :)
Mar. 16th, 2009 08:46 pm (UTC)
"the yarn comes back/ to where it started" indeed. Nice.
Mar. 16th, 2009 09:02 pm (UTC)
tx :D
Mar. 17th, 2009 08:06 am (UTC)
...I only just noticed the pun there.

At least I'm not the only one to end on a pun.
Mar. 17th, 2009 02:08 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 16th, 2009 09:02 pm (UTC)
Suhweet :D
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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