Friday, December 13, 2013

Part 7 Clearance Flowers

Swishy from three stemmed glasses of rosé, I grinned myself onto a crowded Friday night ride, the thumping beats and fake smoke blasts still ringing artificially in my head. The wondrously obnoxious things a few drinks and anticipatory two day weekends can do to people on a train ride home. The conductor smirks and wishes a reversal of roles, and glances at the nearly immobile hands of his watch, every two seats. He rushes back to take control of somebody’s twenty first gone awry in the third coach in retches and reflex fellow groans.
I turn to look as a small Indian man smiles back at me. His seat and lap are lined with scraggly bouquets of day old flowers from distant gardens, strung together in chokes. Heads of roses, marigolds, petunias, chrysanthemums, sunflowers, struggling for the sun, wishfully out the windows. He resists the want to bury his face in the inflorescence, despite the good many beery belches around. I remember my grandmother that insisted that all flowers belonged to the gods, and weren’t for people to smell or admire. She would slap me if I asked why or which one. He wishes me a very happy Diwali. I wish him back and feel validated in my Friday night happy hour celebrations. Tonight, there were no firecrackers, no nervous animals under beds, no deathly clouds of flash powder. Just vomits, sheepish grins, and imminent hangovers. I busy myself on a website that live streams satellite images of India on Diwali, and slide my legs, sighing, as the map sparkles a little bit, every few seconds. I sense him over my shoulders. I hand him my phone, and watch the longing flashes in his eyes.
“These are for our Diwali pooja tomorrow. You should come”, he says, as he hands my phone back, with a card to a Hindu society in Jenkintown, and a little turmeric stained mystery pouch of folded newspaper.
Clearance flowers from the Market East florist for gods on a budget in faraway lands.
I put the card and my phone away, as I prepare to exit boozily. “Thanks.” I feel strangely warm and embarrassed, as I fail several sobriety tests on my jaunt home. 

1 comment:

prasanna venkatesh.b said...

reading after a long time da! the last line was very Jhumpa Lahariyesque :-) Awesome!