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Cultural Transgressions
by Hareendran Kallinkeel

A poodle, white tufts swaying, bolts into a cluster of bushes. A St Bernard, muscles on hind legs quivering, lunges after. Shrubs jolt and leaves quiver as if an earthquake rocks the garden.

I switched channels.

Hands appear behind a windshield; fingers entwine like mating snakes. Polished nails claw along a muscular forearm, and steamy breaths leave patches of moisture on the glass. The car rocks as if the earth beneath it jerked

The door clicked, and before I could skip to Cartoon Network, Father snatched the remote control.

“I don’t understand why you watch such bullshit,” he said. “They corrode our tradition, and propagate the stupid Western culture.” He changed the channel.

A bearded saint renders a discourse, intoxicated by his own charismatic eloquence. Plump women wearing silk saris and heavy jewellery sway in spiritual bliss

Father nodded, sitting next to me on the sofa. He removed his coat, loosened his necktie, and stretched his arms.

I smelled whiskey in his breath.

“Go do your homework.” He pulled out his usual packet of cigarettes that had a picture of cowboys on horses.

I headed for my study.

The TV’s glow on the black satin curtain blinked once.

I didn’t have to turn back to know he’d pressed the ‘Previous Program’ button on the remote control.