White

A telephone call talked of an an old man with a white topee ,who worked in a cement factory.The cement is no longer.The white topee is no longer.

Memories linger of a city on the sea where the waves beat black granite rocks.The white surf of an ocean which stretches to distant Aden .There the ancestors had landed in a dhow to make tradesmen’s money.Tall white stone buildings stood against the blue sea.At night they wore the transparent veil of pale moonlight .On moonlit nights perfumed society people stood against the ocean,among the rocks where the waves from the distant Gulf beat their city.

Dark people sold smuggled tape recorders with whirring tape-spools .The whitewashed buildings had white peace in their upper bellies But in their under-bellies they had fishermen’s knives and red revenge .

A frail old man from the city made white salt at the sea-shore and spun white cotton on hand-wheels and made others wear white.

(Remembering my life spent in Porbandar (1974-1976))

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