LOST Glasses

Hagar was the first to arrive. She came tender-fried just days ahead of the war. She had been sightseeing in the southern states. She had been to 'Modoorai' and 'Hydra-bad' and 'Who-blee'. She had grown tired of the questions that came with straying from the pack. Alone and female. 'Hello darling, where are you from?' 'Baby, where are you going?' 'What are hiding between your legs, foreign whore?' She had grown weary of those questions.

She just wanted to feel the cool air on her face and the sun on her feet. This was her time of rest and dreaming.

Hagar began at the bronze of her Medusa hair and ended at the black tips of her painted nails. In between was an Army-hardened hour-glass of dough colour skin. Hagar was 5 feet. She came to Khim's in a guitar case disguise. She lugged it on her back and it made her look taller. The guitar was her travelling mate. Without her guitar Hagar was like a Babushka doll down to her last self.

Hagar was Israeli, single and on a mission. She'd lost her glasses on the way to the hills. With them she'd also lost a way of seeing. She didn't mind not seeing things as things. She'd begun to see the patterns in the whooshes of colour that moved around her like fish behind frosted glass.

Hagar was a student of sound. She was also a self-help fanatic. Her small, custom-made rucksack had in it two self-help books. The books were part of Hagar's mission. One self-helped her with Hindi, the language, and the other with pulling strings.

Something about her sudden retreats from conversation told you that she wasn't all there. Hagar's sudden silences told you of the sorrow she'd secretly felt at losing her other selves. Losing them to her country. The hate it had expected her to hold inside her. Black and raging hate for her neighbours. Her semitic sisters in the occupied land. "We're not expected to sympathize with them," she said one day. Hagar was a Kibbutznik. She had in those growing up years in a kibbutz become an adept in the art of sharing.

She had seen Yitzhak Rabin fall. She was there when a law student emptied into him the sum of all his fear and hatred. She was tiny cadet waiting to shake her Prime Minister's hand. They were all celebrating peace at a Tel Aviv peace rally. Hagar had seen Rabin's killer walk past her. In jeans, T-shirt and skull cap. "He also killed something in us," Hagar said.

She had very clear memories of that day. The breeze was faint like a dreamer's breath. Rabin had been walking around shaking hands, on his way to the podium. Then two shots were heard. "It was like a wave. We heard 'Bang, bang' and then people were screamin. We knew somehow what had happened. I didn't remember any dry eyes that day," she told us.

The loss of glasses had changed Hagar's view of people. For once since her army days she didn't have to bother about the politics of Us and Them.

Hagar was the first to see the breaking news. "I think it's started," she said narrowing her eyes. Searching one by one our colour whooshes for reactions. She said 'it's started' as if she'd just announced a film.

For a moment it felt the Banana Pancakes would lose their magic.

COMRADE JOSHI came to Khim's especially for the war. He had a TV at home but he liked an audience. Like in a cricket match. His TV was also mad like him. Sometimes it worked. Mostly, it didn't. Comrade Joshi was a grand orator. Once out of his mouth Comrade Joshi's words could travel to the ends of the earth. He spoke to Bill Clinton. Daily. Through his TV. He also spoke to his wife, Monica Seles, daily. Through the TV.

He whispered his daily messages into the muted speaker of his obsolete Uptron TV. As Comrade Joshi spoke into his TV his words mixed with the throbbing static of his blank screen. Then they tangoed with the dots inside the screen and waltzed through the cable wire, into the T-shape of his antenna. From the antenna the wind carried his words to distant lands. To wherever Comrade Joshi willed his words to go. Comrade Joshi's words were like notes musicians willed to rise from their music sheets and enter their instruments, and then fade into the ears of listeners.

Still more…


  1. Interesting character sketchces but i much prefer Comrade Joshi's. Hagar's is a bit regular. Wat's up next? Would like to see how the two are connected.....

  2. Maharaj good stuff, next installment please.


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