One Brick, Two Walls

Sharanya Srinivasan

Bangalore, 2013

The shrieking power of electric guitars, the booming drums.
Tschk ta da ta da ta da ta ta ta
Pink Floyd through tall speakers—the floor thrums with the music.
I am oblivious to the world. Auto rickshaws
pass me in a blur of yellow and black.

vruuuummmm
A battle between Doppler and Pink Floyd ensues—
with every passing rickshaw,
I expect Floyd’s dialogue to take over.
I expect Floyd to mimic Ravi Shankar,
beginning the song with lyrics,
not weird beats for 2 minutes.
That's not how music worked.
not in my Indian head,
in my Indian room,
in my Indian city.
All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.
Finally! Words!

Chicago, 2016

The same Floyd (less expectations)
Through headphones

Tschk ta da ta da ta da ta ta ta
I walk through a myriad of white people with weird accents.
People whose “colour” was “color,”
And who had a zed when I had an ess,
People who I had only seen in the movies,
Or had heard about from Floyd.
“How are you,” people said as they walked past,
Time enough to ask a question, too busy for an answer.
A homesick silence replaced ten thousand rickshaws.
I longed for the
vruuuummmm,
For the Doppler v. Floyd,
But Floyd had changed too.
I felt energy and urgency when I heard them
with my Indian friends,
in my Indian room,
in my Indian city
All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.
But the words didn’t excite me.
There was no energy.
No surprises, only memory.

Bangalore, 2013
I was an Indian brick in a wall
that I had nothing to do with
The wall still had bricks I knew—

memory, friends.

Chicago, 2016
An Indian brick
in an American wall.
No familiar bricks—
only unknown stones.