Plaster of Paris
We bring it home every year, thinking it as a God.
With the hollow purse of culture, we go to the workshop
to survey the clay idols
like a row of chastened impoverished school children.
For a moment we sense divinity in them.
We measure the price of that 20-inch make-belief, and book our idol.
The Plaster of Paris sculpture watches us go,
staring dispassionately at our receding backs
the way our bodies would regard the last breath
when it vanishes
Mother, of course, comments
that the idol contains a lot of spirit.
Visitors drop by the house
all as plastic as Plaster of Paris
speaking nothing even if they speak much.
Outside, it’s Aarti prayer-time
inside, mother-father argue
the Aarti ups in volume
propelled from our guts and navels
after the Aarti, I convince myself
that: with this, God has become glad.
An uncle turns up
who doesn’t speak much
he circumcircles God with the Aarti’s tray
eats dinner and leaves
Only later do we realize
uncle worked in Don Dawood’s gang. Hardcore criminal.
Like now we know – Ganesha naught it’s CaSO4.2H2O.
Both are gospel truths but
insoluble and trivial.
In the presence of everyone, the idol is immersed
from young to old people are misty-shifty-eyed
On the wooden pedestal we get back a residue of riverbed
we worship the clump of mud
in this, the mud gets the status of Plaster of Paris
appeasing-shapeasing Mother Earth etcetera.
No damage to the environment.
So from this year onward we will bring home an idol of pipeclay
pipeclay dissolves obediently into water and consciousness.
With new mud we play a new game.
We buy mud. We let dissolve it in water.
The earth’s truth. Burying it in the earth itself.