by Renuka Raghavan
Your watch says half past ten as you look out to the Arabian Sea thinking of a different sunny seashore on the other side of the world, nursing your second gin and tonic at this Mumbai dive bar you overheard a tour guide suggest because it was famous for kebabs, spotting Bollywood stars score cocaine, and meeting one-night stands, when you realize yours is a no-show and you stand to leave but the music starts up and Rihanna swears she found love in a hopeless place and you smile as you light a cigarette because you know the DJ who’s been eyeing you all night played the song just for you, then he makes his way over to your table and you smile at him as he grabs your waist and the two of you dance all hot, sweaty, delicious and you just want more, more dancing, more drinks, and later as you lie in the hotel room, DJ tells you he has never left this city, that his whole life is encompassed within one neighborhood, that his biggest fear is to die here without seeing the world, which is probably why he likes to fuck tourists, you realize, then he tells you he comes from a family of god makers, people who make tiny fat Ganesh figures that you’ve seen hawked on city streets and at crowded intersections all over town, give me your address and I’ll mail you one, he says, but all you want to do is tell him you don’t have a permanent address, that you have to leave before morning because here the sunrise has a way of emptying everything inside of you.
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Author of Out of the Blue, (Big Table Publishing, 2017) and The Face I Desire (Nixes Mate, 2019), Renuka Raghavan writes short-form prose and poetry. She serves as the fiction book reviewer at Červená Barva Press and is a co-founder of the Poetry Sisters Collective. For a complete list of her previous publications, visit her at www(dot)renukaraghavan(dot)com.
Renuka’s piece brought my errant youth back to me, and made me acknowledge once more the truth of a saying popular at that time, “the personal is the political”. Thank you.