Swanky library next to YMCA , cackling
College girls crowd the YMCA steps, like when
chicks get hep, they join the men’s club
Air conditioning, British prescript, books-
stay in racks, ergonomic seats, is there
anything else I hate about the place
Only metal detector in the city, I’m no
suicide bomber, but it feels so nice
to get certified
Over the years I’ve seen the-
Lady in the British library gracefully
preside over her stately place
Across the table, under her watch,
I fill in the refund form, plain and simple,
return to innocence
There was nothing to cry for, never-
liked the place despite being a regular
the last British hangout will rest in state
Only place in the city, where you-
have to speak in British, hate it,
love it, let it go!
“so why you closing down” I asked,
“no good reason, council’s decision”
Her voice founders her majesty’s last defense
Because this time, she speaks to me in malayalam. There are certain times when you speak in your mother’s language, like when you speak directly to the heart.
Neither can I change that, nor
can you reverse that.
Because malayalam is a palindrome.
“Why? is this place not viable?”
“No, the revenues are up a hundred percent, thats no reason, no”
Her voice hushes and breaks while she talks, like complaining to a long time friend.
“Just like that?”
“Yes, the council want to cut down on the number of centers, some decision”
“And the books, are you selling them?”, I was sure I wouldn’t buy a single book
“The Chief Minister wants the library to continue, so the state government may take the books”
See everybody wants the British Library in Trivandrum to continue – the lady, the Chief Minister, my mother. Everybody except the council and perhaps me. I’m undecided like why.
“So you all are getting transferred to other British libraries?”
“No”, She said, looked down. Last word.
Isn’t that where it comes crashing down, like stock markets, and we finally return to innocence. That working for the British don’t make you British, even if you feel so in the good times.
And when in a turn of pitch and toss,
they leave you on the road,
you grab that handful of salt and
refuse to talk their lore.
The refund cheque said rupees three hundred and thrity two. The library closes down finally on February 29th.
For the uninitiated – its a Leap year.
Cross posted in the Diaries