Rishikesh II

The next day, the train sped across the Deccan plateau heading towards Hyderabad. In the compartment next to me were old soldiers in their 80’s, called freedom fighters by this young man who said he was a politician. His friend, a grandson of one of the soldiers, told me about his home in Warangal.

Do you know why India has remained whole after all of these years? How can we speak different languages and continue to call each other Indian even though we can’t understand each other? My mother, when she went down to the Godavari, near Warangal, to do her ceremonies she called it Ganga. This is why we understand each other. All of our rivers are Ganga.

Every September we take clay sculptures of the god Ganesh down to the water in the Bay Area and return him to his home. At the bottoms of oceans in India there are millions of elephant-headed bodies of half eroded clay left by families over the years. Underneath the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, ours have begun to crumble.

Amarnath Ravva has performed (as part of the ambient improvisational ensemble Ambient Force 3000) at LACMA, Los Angeles; Machine Project, Los Angeles; and Betalevel, Los Angeles. He has exhibited work at Telic, Los Angeles; Acorn Gallery, Los Angeles; Pond, San Francisco; and Keith & Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery, Cal Poly Pomona. In addition to presenting his work in numerous readings, he has writing online at PennSound, LA-Lit and Drunken Boat #10, and work forthcoming in Encyclopedia vol. 2, and Indivisible: An Anthology of Contemporary South Asian American Poetry.