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The Saturday poem: Or Take Mrs Salim Sheikh

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by Arundhathi Subramaniam

Who ripples hospitably
out of her halwa-pink blouse
and sari (Synthetics are so practical
to wear on trains, na?). Who invokes
the protocol of Indian railways to ask
for your phone number even before
the journey begins. Who unwinds
her life story, well-oiled,
without a single split end.

Shes Hindu,
a doctor, like her husband.
The Matron warned her
about inter-faith unions,
but she had no doubts,
not even in 93 when others did.

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