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The vegetarian ones
are no safer than the others.
In fact beware of those that
are expected to take root
and keep growing.

Colours can be misleading—
if you're served grey kebabs,
do not be afraid to ask for
those special glasses. Remember,
the things you fail to see
properly, at first, are often
the prettiest.

And though your guide books
and petty officials will tell you
otherwise,
do not go empty handed.
Carry a few sugar-dusted biscuits
to spread out as an expected dessert,
or unabashedly produce a jar
of your mother's green chutney
from a sleeve.

You see the point in venturing
into the unknown is not adventure
or fame or fortune or even escape.
The point is to understand that
arriving at the loneliest of places,
among the strangest of people,
with the most bizarre of customs,
there is still always room at the table.



Rohinton Daruwala lives and works in Pune, India. He tweets as @wordbandar and blogs at https://wordbandar.wordpress.com/. His first collection of poems is The Sand Libraries of Timbuktu (Speaking Tiger 2016). His work has previously appeared in Strange Horizons, New Myths, Star*Line, Liminality, Through the Gate, and Silver Blade.
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23 Jan 2023

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