My grandpa is making roti
He is sitting on the ground, in the sun, his dhoti is bunched around his knees
Billowing whiteness, set ablaze by the morning light
He’s floating on a cloud
A few simple ingredients–flour, water, a pinch of salt, a dribble of oil
He adds them one by one, with a practiced eye, to the worn steel bowl tucked between his legs
He pulls and kneads,
pulls and kneads.
The dough comes together, dry into wet into dry
Over and over, round and round in the same bowl that has birthed hundreds of rotis for hundreds of hungry mouths.
I notice a piece of lighter dough,
still flecked with flour, stretching and becoming part of the whole,
folding in on itself. “Where did that piece go?” I ask.
“kahin bhi nahin” he answers. “It didn’t go anywhere.”
He smiles through wrinkles, chuckles are lost in whiskers
I pretend not to understand,
but I get it. I know what it’s like
to be nowhere.