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Tamarind and Day – Mandira Pattnaik

Dec 10, 2021 | Non Fiction | 0 comments

2nd Place, The Antonym Creative Non-Fiction Contest (Use an ordinary word in an extraordinary way), November 2021

Not all of this is true. Like it wasn’t Summer. What was it? Was it not Summer, or did that never happen? The day was like one piece in a Harlequin set. Was it because you remember the smell of him was like tamarind extract? Was it particularly offensive, or did you only notice because the breeze blowing from his side carried it to you. Was it poetry you’d been discussing? And you suggested that was funny, then wondered what’d be the sound like if you deflated the clouds, or the sight be like if you filled the school yard with chrysanthemum colors. Did he mention something about poetry to do with music, and was it Beethoven he said something about? You didn’t hear all of it, but it meant he was class apart from the other boys in class. Later, you’d come home, called it a tamarind day, spiced, and pickled to last for ages. You knew Time wasn’t home, it was so far away. And was it false that that night you dreamt he’d said something that had made you laugh? You’d want that in your man. He was only a boy. And certainly not the boy. And dreams are true, and they are not. Now, it is true you did dream of a room full of yellow-banded snakes on the morning the world woke up to its worst tsunami. It was so true you woke up sweating, thinking what that meant for you. As if all dreams have meanings! As though, every dream is living and thriving. Like the rawness of dark, the dead of nights, the unambiguity of desire, as if all that is true. Now, not all of this is false.

Mandira Pattnaik‘s work appears in print and online in over 150 journals across fifteen countries, including in Best Small Fictions 2021, Citron Review, Ilanot Review, Passages North, Amsterdam Quarterly and DASH Journal. Her work was nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2021 & 2022, Best Microfictions 2021, and Best of the Net, and was highly commended in CRAFT Flash Fiction Contest 2020, Litro Magazine Summer Contest 2021 and Smokelong Comedy Contest 2021.


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