The laterite bleeds red in the rain. A river of umbrellas flows out from the church, over the Martian landscape and towards homes where the red meat sits and stews with pepper and cloves in earthen pots. The kitchens are scented with the vapour that has found its way across space and time, drowning the anti-fragrance of patina formed over many a monsoon. The red flags droop and drip as they watch comrades piously filing out from the house of God, heading for godless party offices. The old church from where the son of God was taken away years ago to a new and richer abode, stands there crumbling next to ancient graves. Children and their tiny psychedelic umbrellas break away from the river and trickle into Sunday school. The rubber trees stand there, watching it all and lactate indifferently. I never really miss Changanassery, yet its red earth strangely haunts me sometimes. Maybe it’s the call of ancestors locked up in a crypt near the forgotten church. They do get prayers sung for them on convenient Sundays, yet they haunt when I am far away from the red laterite Martian land. Ties of red, I guess.