in a flung festoon | Rekha Valliappan

looking for the ornament-studded bride under
gilt edged vermilion-red, her skin heavy-hued
in age old crimson maroon -stained coy-blush;
polished aunties frilled in pomegranate-red, be-
decked in finest silks, – rush, brush, in heavy
stampede to chase the jasmine-curtained groom,
-mounted, he on princely white charger, pale as
the sweet-scented flowers half shy-shrouded –
drum-beat drowsed -charge to the wedding party;
bangles gold-gleaming, tinkle-, panting, clicking,
singing, screaming, profusely streaming, fine-
natured jeweled crowds, encircle the auspicious
roundabout – to gaze one small glimpse of the
glare-encrusted queen.

i spin with the rest, rich rites resurged, red satin
dancing, wild to the beat, fired with the festooned
glow of age-old flow enjoined in seasoned splendor;
for how can one diverge from the old channeled
road, take the unknown one not taken, blade
ancient rituals embowered in runnels of time?

 


Writer’s Commentary

Puja (prayer), rituals, feeding fire with oblations like ghee, grains has been an important
part of my life. ‘in a flung festoon’ was written after contemplating these aspects through
dozens of marriages of family and friends. Looking at the evolutionary interplay between Meera Nanda’s bestseller The God Market (2011) where she tackles the growing
resurgence of re-ritualization so to speak among urban, educated and largely middle
classes in India and Axel Michaels’s Homo Ritualis (2016) which explains the fascinating
rites of passage traced to its original Sanskrit Vedic roots I was inspired by a where to
now moment in the mysticism and ancient practices.

 


Rekha Valliappan is a multi-genre writer of prose and poetry. She earned her MA and BA in English Literature from Madras University and her LLB (Hons) from the University of London. She has won awards and been nominated for her work and is featured in literary journals and anthologies including The Sandy River Review Online, Aaduna Literary Review, Ann Arbor Review, Dime Show Review, The Cabinet of Heed, Mason Street Review, Artifact Nouveau, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Foliate Oak Literary Review, X-R-A-Y Lit Mag, and elsewhere. Find her on Twitter @silicasun.