Summer 1994 • Vol. XVI No. 3 Poetry |

Borrowed Gods

"Juu-dee," my neighbor calls, opening my window, peering into the room where I'm at my table, writing. "Juu-dee, are you busy?" she calls, "I need to borrow couple gods." It's the puja holidays, the festival season, and her 'kitty-club' (which every week lunches at one of the members' houses) is coming today to her house for worship, devotional singing, and prayers. Fifteen besilked ladies, engineers' wives wearing all the auspicious signs of marriage: gold chains, bangles, red streaks where they part their hair. But it's inauspicious to move the gods from the little corner where she's installed them and already done her daily ritual, so she needs a goddess or two; needs Ganesh, maybe Hanuman, Krishna (but not Kali), to put on her drawing-room's makeshift altar, and I'm glad to oblige. I'm awash in gods. So I hand over Durga, Ganesh, Lakshmi, Hanuman, Krishna, Lord Jagannath. How pleasing to see them off on a visit-- while I'm on the outside looking in, inside my

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