Pratibha


pratibha-7-28-14Pratibha is the winner of Vol 2 – 34, Vol 3 – 39, and numerous Flash! Friday mentions. 

She was born in Mumbai, India and grew up in three culturally diverse states of India. She lives in San Francisco Bay Area.

Some of her poems have recently appeared in Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, The Lake, Mused – the BellaOnline Literary Review, and One Sentence Poems. Her short fiction has appeared in several online magazines.  Her essays have been included in three different anthologies published by Greenwood Press.

Pratibha is the editor of The Literary Nest, an online magazine. Follow her at her blog and on Twitter.

***

The Pink Dawn

“Papa, it’s too dark, I can’t see anything.”

“Just hold on to Mama. Quick. The boat will leave without us if we are not there soon.”

I clutch Mama’s dress, and she pulls me up. I am propped on her hip and Sheena is snuggled against her chest in a knapsack. We are warm and safe in Mama’s hug. Mama isn’t crying now. Her face is stern like when she wants us to focus on our homework. The school is closed. Mama says the rebels took over it. I don’t know what rebel means. She just hushes me if I ask.

Mama and Papa walk for hours in the dark, and then the dawn opens her eyes, and they are all pink. It’s nice! I am warm in Mama’s hug.

I’ve never seen so many people. They push and shove.

Water’s under my toes. Is that Sheena floating? I’m ice-cold.

***

Passing the Torch

The river moves sluggishly, barely a ripple on the thick brown surface. The heavy gray clouds linger around like grief.

At the first light of dawn, the priest begins his daily trek to the temple. Mud clings to his worn-out shoes, and his bones creak in the damp weather. These days he cannot bring out the shine of the brass lamps. The floor is covered in soot. He sighs!

Something stirs behind the temple. He squints his eyes and spots a young woman. She bows her head.

“God bless you, my child!” he says.

Her swollen eyes remain hidden behind the veil.

He begins to sweep the floor, but she takes the broom from him. He nods approvingly.

Here, she can remain free, from the memories of the village swept away by the mudslide, from her past, from her caste!

The temple bells peal. “Bless my child, the future priest.” She touches her belly and whispers to her unborn baby.

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