A Day In Diction

Day 113: Mysore

This day reads better as a poem

Six wheels, divide by two

Three foreign fools 

On the road again, so good to be

in a rickshaw again

Four wheels, add four

Three foreign fools

One scheming guy at the wheel.

Careen, careen, 

Through the Magic of Mysore

Palace number one is open for business

Sky high ceilings and a man tending the pool

Surface revealing clouds with a cutting edge

Our voices ping-pong between shiny marble walls

and every table is available

At tea time

In the eating room

Where the staff wander

Aimlessly.

Out front we meet

Magic Babu! Who,

You guessed it,

Has tricks up his sleeve

I’m not sure if I ever find out

What a babu is

Let alone a magic one. 

He speaks of Steven Seagal, 

Alleged loyal customer of this

Idle palace.

“Two wife, this coming,” the magic man says, and

Wraps his hands

Around his throat.

Before we leave, he says I am the spitting image

Of some

Madurathi Bollywood star

I rub sunscreen into my freckles

It’s hot out here. 

Scheming Careener steers us

To the next chartered stop.

Palace numero dos

Gives us chai

On the 

Whose house is this?

Our rickshaw bumbles through the streets 

Our driver really seems to know what he’s doing

Everyone is magic here

Reading minds

He must be.

He hasn’t asked us where to go

He must know

We’re up for anything

Anything being

A little abode where a woman rolls sticks 

In a sticky paste

Into powdered sticks

It’s a smelly stick

Incense maker

It takes her 

Into the second batch before she

Smiles 

She’s still on the first.

A man gestures

Our trio follows

Past a threshold

Into four walls of crystallized scent

Bottled ‘fumes 

In glassy wares

Essential

For

What, exactly?

“You sell these oils?”

I peer under the shag carpet of his brow

“You like,” he says

“I sell my smile.”

One by one, the creep train

Tut tuts 

From one foreign forehead 

To another.

Lotus forehead massage

Great for 

Business

We all walk out

Vials in our pockets 

Vile piled in our forehead pores

Potions per fuming 

The trail away

Leads to the market 

–a jungle–

Coconuts, paan leaves,

The chromatic hills of Holi Mysore. 

A thali stop in Hotel Ajantha

Thali backwards is I Love A Hot Thali.

Palace, the Third

It’s big. It’s beautiful. It’s

Kinda boring at this point. 

The fourth palace houses 

Motorbikes

Okay

It’s not a palace

But these bikes are regal

Royal Enfields, to be precise

We buy some stickers

“Built Like A Gun”

But the bike is a Bullet

Confused colonialists,

Weaponry outta whack.

Our driver is named Bays and

While we wait for Shay to shop

Aviel and Bays and I talk

Barbershop

He thinks Aviel should cut his mop

His curly Jewish locks and 

Shave his molting face

Into something

Presentable

The shop is 

Closed. 

Shave over. 

Back at the hotel 

Bays wants to know what time 

We plan to leave in the morning, about

Exactly, what time?

And what colour is 

My bike?

His bike? 

Your bike?

“10 am,” says Aviel. “All black.”

I squint. 

Pizza

Salad 

Bed. 

My alarm is set for 5am. 

Shay’s bike is red. 

A Poem in Pictures


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