Marriage Of Madurai And Myanmar

He wears his hat at all times
the fancy straw one
worn in rice fields of Burma,
this man who comes to weed my garden says
I am part Burmese part Chinese

I look closely at his features:
he is a stocky man,
eyes that smile and caress 
a man from my Madurai
nestled deep in Tamil Nadu.

He knows what runs in my mind,
he takes me to his house
pulls out an old album,
shy silverfish hide behind photos
yellowed and blurred.

He shows a photo
my grandfather, he says
standing with a few men
Chinese? Burmese?
on a dug up mound.

He built the Burma road
during the world war
marrying China and India
through mountains
gorges and river valleys.

He and the men from his village
alongside Chinese laborers
built every road that took soldiers
to fight the Japanese
who moved up from the Andaman seas.

He then shows me a China
chipped and cracked:
it somehow seems odd
in the hands of this man from Madurai
in his Madras house –

a proof to the story
that wed Myanmar and Madurai?

Magpie Tales

7 thoughts on “Marriage Of Madurai And Myanmar

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