Beyond Gravity

My knowledge of numbers diminished on arrival

in England, then the United States. At home in Ceylon

I used to bathe in lakhs and crores. No number seemed

too grand except for the infinite. But in the West I felt

bereft fingering a million, ten, a hundred, even a billion

but without the handy prefix of crore or lakh. I don’t

understand the lack, discarding terms that serve

to shorten, distill, make repartee more exact, why

on learning centigrade we cannot keep fahrenheit

in a pocket of the mind, We are capable of saving

our race and the planet, moving around the Sun

until the Sun explodes. By then, we would be ten

crore and one hundred lakh light years out, planting

a tree, scattering seed, where no gravity can cut us down.

-December 12, 2021

Indran Amirthanayagam

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