Thursday, October 19, 2017

Ronald Tuhin D'Rozario writes

Essays over your cardigan

My acne face 
Counts the scribble of stars
Green eyes, spitting desires 
Lust turns an Autumn.

Your cardigan 
A crossroad of sapphire 
Broken tresses of hair 
trail like railwaylines
Whose stories 
Are a lost syllabus in history
In a war fed appetite. A damp neglect. 
The crockery of my tongue weight
Pulling a silent craving 
Flesh feeds my wants
In an embrace of a burnt splinter 
My bosom turns orange,
Where many a sunset had melted.

The alienated sun 
Rebelled on those shoulders
A hanger of bones 
The skin tugged like a shirt
Neem trees harvest a shadow 
Your cardigan was your home,
Fencing your heart from wind.

It bears the stain 
Your paan chewed lips
My fingers mark the territory, 
The algebra of your chest
Up to the navel, 
And a little beneath,
Now a frozen museum.

The path of your tears 
Pulling you close. Pushing afar 
Burying you within.
 Image result for cardigan paintings vallotton
The Red Cardigan -- Félix Vallotton 


  1. A cardigan is a type of knitted garment that has an open front. Originally it was a knitted sleeveless vest, modelled after the knitted wool waistcoat that British officers wore during the Crimean War, that was named after James Brudenell, 7th earl of Cardigan, the British major general who led the “Charge of the Light Brigade” at the battle of Balaclava. Brudenell reached his 674 light cavalrymen early in the morning of 25 October 1854 after leaving his yacht in Balaclava harbor (where he returned after the battle) before his commander (his brother-in-law who been feuding with him for three decades) sent them on a frontal assault against a well-defended Russian artillery battery with an excellent line of sight over a mile in length and supported on two sides by artillery batteries that provided enfilading fire from elevated ground. Brudenell led the charge but was oblivious of the carnage behind him; he actually reached the Russian guns, engaged the defenders before he was forced to withdraw, and then returned alone up the”Valley of Death” without bothering to rally or even find out what had happened to the survivors; he lost 118 killed, 127 wounded, and 60 taken prisoner. He defended his action after his retreat by claiming he did not wish to “fight the enemy among private soldiers.” The Russian commanders thought the attackers must have been drunk. The commander of the French troops insisted that the action “is not war. It is madness.” Though during the winter that followed he refused to release any of his remaining troopers or mounts to retrieve needed food, fodder, and clothing (because “I had no orders to do so”), leading to much discomfort among his men and the loss of many of his horses. In a speech he gave after returning home he claimed that he had spent the “whole time in a common tent” and insisted that he had indeed rallied his men and pursued the fleeing Russians. Nevertheless, he was regarded as a hero, knighted, and promoted to the position of inspector general of the cavalry, and his brother-in-law eventually became a field marshall.

  2. The event was memorialized by the British poet laureate Alfred, Lord Tennyson five weeks after it occurred.
    Half a league, half a league,
    Half a league onward,
    All in the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.
    “Forward, the Light Brigade!
    Charge for the guns!” he said.
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.

    “Forward, the Light Brigade!”
    Was there a man dismayed?
    Not though the soldier knew
    Someone had blundered.
    Theirs not to make reply,
    Theirs not to reason why,
    Theirs but to do and die.
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.

    Cannon to right of them,
    Cannon to left of them,
    Cannon in front of them
    Volleyed and thundered;
    Stormed at with shot and shell,
    Boldly they rode and well,
    Into the jaws of Death,
    Into the mouth of hell
    Rode the six hundred.

    Flashed all their sabres bare,
    Flashed as they turned in air
    Sabring the gunners there,
    Charging an army, while
    All the world wondered.
    Plunged in the battery-smoke
    Right through the line they broke;
    Cossack and Russian
    Reeled from the sabre stroke
    Shattered and sundered.
    Then they rode back, but not
    Not the six hundred.

    Cannon to right of them,
    Cannon to left of them,
    Cannon behind them
    Volleyed and thundered;
    Stormed at with shot and shell,
    While horse and hero fell.
    They that had fought so well
    Came through the jaws of Death,
    Back from the mouth of hell,
    All that was left of them,
    Left of six hundred.
    When can their glory fade?
    O the wild charge they made!
    All the world wondered.
    Honour the charge they made!
    Honour the Light Brigade,
    Noble six hundred!

    Cardigan's title was an anglicised variation of the Welsh locale Ceredigion ("Ceredig's land"); Ceredig was one of the sons of Cunedda Wledig, who had arrived from Manaw Gododdin (the modern Clackmannanshire region of Scotland) in the 5th century to defend the region against invading Irish forces. Ceredig’s grandfather was Padarn “Beisrudd” (of the "red tunic"). The early 20th-century couturière Coco Chanel promoted cardigans for women because she disliked the way tight-necked men’s sweaters messed up her hair.

  3. Paan (from “parna,”the Sanskrit word for leaf) is an addictive euphoria-inducing concoction that combines betel leaves with areca nuts and sometimes also with tobacco. Slaked lime (chunnam) paste is commonly added to bind the leaves, and some South Asian preparations include katha paste or mukhwas to freshen the breath. According to traditional Ayurvedic medicine, chewing betel leaf is a remedy against bad breath. It is known as glory in Urdu, beeda in Hindi, vetrrilai or thambulum in Tamil, thambula in Kannada, killi or tambulam in (Telugu), sireh in Malay, sirih in Indonesian, suruh in Javanese, mark in Lao, bulath in Sinhalese, buai in Tok Pisin, and foah in Dhivehi. After being chewed it is spat out, making a red stain on the ground, or swallowed. Archaeological evidence from Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines suggests that lime paste, areca, and betel have been used in tandem for at least 4,000 years. At auspicious occasions two betel leaves, an areca nut, and some coconut are given to male and female guests, and married female visitors at any time are given the same ingrediants (or some fruit) with a string of threaded flowers. In northern India, paan is chewed for blessings after Deepawali, a five-day Hindu festival that shows reverence to gods and humans, as well as animals like crows, cows, and dogs that have an intimate relationship with humans; on the final day Yamraj, the god of death, visited his sister Yamuna and, in gratitude for her gifts to him, proclaimed that anyone who receives a tilak (lines drawn on a man’s forehead) from his sister will never die on that day.

  4. A lovely lyrical poignant write where myriad feelings and images intersperse
    "many a sunset had melted " ,"broken tresses of hair trail like railway lines "and many such that have enriched the write along with a brilliant note by Duane Vorhees .


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