Seeing off Kalapi

Seeing off Kalapi

I got in my time-travel machine and visited 10 June 1900, the town of Lathi, India, the bedroom of Kalapi, the famous Indian poet. Kalapi was on his death bed. He was only 26.
He wrote one of my favorite poems, The Donkey and the Lavender Bush. It’s written from the perspective of a donkey named Calamay that is ill-treated by its owner Salgat. Calamay is able to endure his hard life due to the wind’s regular delivery of a faraway Lavender Bush’s wafting scent. Eventually Calamay breaks free and wanders the land in search of the source of the perfume. In the final verse, Calamay collapses at the base of the Lavender Bush and utters, “Oh, sweet bountiful bouquet, you are ghanda (Hindu for nifty.)
I brought Kalapi fresh concord grapes and hand fed him since he had no strength to do so himself. I also brought Silly Putty and the comic section of the newspaper.I pressed the Silly Putty onto the comic strip Ziggy. I showed the impression to Kalapi and then stretched it, elongating Ziggy’s already funny round head. Kalapi laughed so hard he had a coughing fit and died.

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