Madhur Anand | Brick | Fall 2017 | 18 minutes (3,526 words)

May his head burn! Your words are rocks thrown at my forehead! I will peel her skin off! Threats and insults like these do not sound that bad in their native Punjabi. Even when they are directed at loved ones. Even when they come from your own mother. The pronouns are catalysts for combustion, a quick, irreversible reaction, with only ashes for proof. However, an English word like partition can sit in an Indian’s mouth for hours, or even for a lifetime, in motion toward something shapeless, and then melted, gone. Sometimes partition represents a noun (a broken door), sometimes it is a verb (to divide into parts), but it is never clear who is at fault. An Urdu poet once called partition a birthday party for anonymous and a funeral for unanimity. A mathematician saw…

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