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Words seeping out –
blood through a bandage, resin trickling from wood.
It wasn’t that the room was filled with light (the session over and the group dispersed),
but that the air in that harsh place was stippled, as in a Seurat painting,
the dance of the molecules visible around the awkward chair and table legs.
And we separated, slippery as mercury. There was movement, movement in us.
Alvi SaradhaSoobrayen OnefootinEnglandandonefootin Mauritius
MauritianCreole developedout of a linguistic dilemma, an unstable ‘pidgin’ evolvedinthe 1880s out of a necessityto create a workinglanguage betweenthe HinduandMuslim indentured labourers;theMalabarsandLascarsand theMarrons theslavegroups fromEast andWest AfricaandMadagascar. Mauritian Creole became the meeting point between these arriving communities, whose languages collided and whose senseof belonginghadbeenshatteredbytheFrench, English andDutchconquerors. Thisbreakingof themothertongueis exploredin‘MyConqueror’ amonologuewritteninthevoice of ‘LilleMaurice’:
Shebringsapantomimecastof malabars andlascars tomyshores. Theirpassageback toIndiaguaranteed, if onlytheycanreadthescripts. Thecanebreaksbacks. Tamil, Urdu, Hindi, cling