A thousand names for one who
has lost weight is a heavy affair.
Instead, on the phone, I attempt
to make her laugh. Like all those
names, her chuckle echoes over
phone lines, and in emails.
She is named thus, after a Goddess
who plays. But our conversation
is hardly divine. Like illness, it
smells sometimes of hospitals. Of
disinfectant. Of trembling hands.
The soothing sound of a woman
complaining. So I urge her to
crib. About food, assorted relatives
and weather. Of typos in the
newspapers, of badly crafted
cryptic clues for crosswords.
Over the phone, I can only offer
this. A laugh. A bad joke. Ten
words. Long distant comfort for
the one who plays, instead
of hot steaming rasam.