Green Chalkboards

Aratrika Lahiri

why don’t I let my Dadu do the talking? He’ll tell you how
“your father grew up on dust and plastic cricket bats
one coke in two years
which his mother beat him with a sandal for
it cost a whole damn rupee.
how seeing glass in his palm red
rivers ebbing and flowing down his wrist meant
etching footmarks in dirt roads
as he ran to the town hospital unaided
ruby red drops mixing with the soil beneath his feet
not daring to tell you until everything was stitched and sown
and woven like cloth
Ma would have had a heart attack had she known.
how swimming was not taught merely learnt with
lungs being filled up with filthy water and
dampened dirt
who could afford chlorine
only the tenacity and vigour of his arms and legs pushing
the thick liquid behind him as he ploughed no
life buoys or kickboards to keep him alive using
pools with clay interiors as a sanctuary from the
Kulti summers
which could pierce through his melanin at leisure
people still don’t know why he’s so light-skinned.
how when you woke up to the aroma of
incense sticks in the morning to when you
came home with your hands raw and black with charcoal
you could still find him
sitting placidly at the desk his palms
enveloping that cha Ma brewed for him that
morning those floppy dishevelled books
ready to crumble at a touch of the spine
him only deferring the inevitable refusing
to let them wither before scouring
every word determination dripping
off his forehead like the oil
you spread in his hair last night.
how your father was too busy
growing up on green chalkboards and catcher in the rye
to recognise how early the training wheels broke off his bike.”

Aratrika Lahiri is a Year 10 student at City of London School for Girls, where she is an avid part of their Creative Writing Society. She has been featured in the top 100 Foyle’s Young Poets in 2021, The Gyroscope Review, and has also been awarded the Bronze Medal from the Bright Light Creative Writing Competition.

Art: Found by Ella Benami who is a visual Artist, based in London. Born in Israel in 1967. Ella is working primarily in Painting. She studied Fine Arts At the Corcoran College of Art and Design, Washington DC. She had been focusing on Abstract Painting from the beginning of her practice. Ella is also an independent Documentary Filmmaker, She received her MA in Documentary Film Practice from Brunel University in London. When Ella is asked to describe her paintings, she will say that her works gather around the desire to organise and create a certain kind of distinctiveness that can allude to systems of codes or symbols that seem to exist within structures of reality that are alternate to those we apprehend in our everyday lives. She describes her work process in painting as though she is somehow being transported into a non concrete terrain where she can examine a certain landscape from the inside. “Each time anew, I begin to create the particular environment from the language and material that this environment both demands and provides me.” Ella also mentions that the works do not intend to ask questions about creation or divinity, but that they certainly touch upon questions of materiality versus non-materiality.

Start typing and press Enter to search