Tetrapods

August 2, 2018 / Reading time: 2 minutes

In Saat Sakkam Trechalis, Kiran Nagarkar sets fire to the pages. Each paragraph tentacles into the middle of the next one, foreshadowing, bathed in spoilers left open like wounds.

And further down, there are rocks and crabs and the tetrapods. Those tetrapods that saw me drown. Exam time in Poona. Past midnight, when I switched off the light and went to bed. Into the sticky green sea of words and sentences from the book on politics I had been reading. So sticky and thick that no waves moved over it. And I, up to my neck in it. Not far from the shore but far enough for my feet to be off the ground. Struggling desperately to escape the glutinous green that stretched as far as the horizon. The sea would neither swallow me nor let me breathe. And the leviathan tetrapods watched.

And after a few more lines (or maybe just one) I omit for fear of copy-pasting the entire paragraph.

The place where you're born, the town, the village, means a thousand things to you. Every spot, every corner holds a memory. Here you stamped your feet, banged your head and cried, there you threw stones to bring down the mangoes. You played doctor behind the schoolhouse, sat for your school leaving exams a few yards away. Learnt to swim in the Mahatma Gandhi pool, got married at the Town Hall. Every event, every memory is a dialogue between you and the place where you have lived. And although your city, town, or village may never play a leading, or even a secondary part in your life, the fact that it is always present makes it the fourth dimension of your consciousness. My memory holds a lot of Bombays. But the Bombay of the tetrapods is not one of them. That Bombay exists separately, and has an independent life.

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