A Memory

by Elaine Edwards

On the road
between Agra and Jaipur,
we stopped for lunch.

The journey had been long:
red roads, donkeys, bicycles,
buses, camels, dust, horns blaring,
cows, legless beggars, naked Fakirs,
on a truck a giant statue of Ganesh, elephant head bobbing.
Paul’s face shone with sweat.
My thighs were sticky on the vinyl seat.
The marigold garland around my neck
reeked of cat’s pee.
The restaurant was a jewel set in a circle of greenery.
A softly- spoken woman seated us
on couches under waving fans.
I smelt: anise, turmeric, cardamom, chillies,
cumin, ginger, curry.

I can’t remember what our dish was called,
whether it was lamb, or even goat.
What did we drink I wonder;
Who was at our table?

Others recall the wonders of the Taj Mahal,
Red Fort, Pink Palace or Humayan’s Tomb.
My memory of India is this: the curry that I ate,
in the jewelled oasis,
on the road
between Agra and Jaipur.


2 thoughts on “A Memory

  1. Lassie Lawson

    This poem took me back vividly to my own experience of India. I loved the poet’s description of irritation and exhaustion on the journey and then the obvious relief she feels in the restaurant where all unpleasantness is forgotten after the meal of delicious aromatic curry.

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