To Reach or Not to Reach

On a cold Kohima night, the dew drips from the tin roof on the ceiling.

No heater and no fire. All wrapped up in our hand-woven wool shawls,

we sit watching the television. Two boys and one girl and our mother.

With a blow of the wind, electricity is cut off.

We all sit quiet and unmoving. Our mother gets up and looks for a Taper.

She lights it and complains, “Nobody moves when the lights go out.

Why do I always have to be the one to get the taper?”

We all sit quiet, wrapped in our 4-ply shawls because we know next time

she will complain, “Why do you all have to reach for the Taper” when the lights go out?”


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