They Will Sew the Blue Sail

Excerpt from KALA PANI | Monica Mody


I lay still as long as I could till my back hurt. I lay still willing the bench to turn into giant, squishy ears. Then I sneaked to the window. There, by sharp moonlight, I saw a deserted junkyard. Ext. Junkyard – Night. An environment where pins could be shortchanged for coins. Ten year old rickshaws and twenty seven year old cars embellished the world. Engines. Coke bottle caps. Canisters. Cabinets. Computer parts. Extra clothing. Catfood. In the foreground, a Maruti 800, 2003 model

Frame rusted, windows smashed. Cats crawling all over the car and

Inside, behind the windshield, two women holding hands. The breeze brought in a strong whiff of engine oil & grease & rotting things, and I staggered backwards [pricked by sudden conscience].

These immortal lovers needed a chronicler, I thought. These important lovers needed a raconteur, I thought. And here I was, still just learning to make chalk marks

On the blackboard. I almost walked out in the moonlight and declared myself to the lovers, almost pleaded for forgiveness. But something held me back. Later, ribbons appeared at my feet securing them in place. So this time it wasn’t that.


At the beginning there was, love.


I heard much, much later that Sameshape & Othershape stayed together till riceflakes fell off their eyes. At the time, of course