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A clarion call

THEN
As I was sitting, reading inside my room one night
I heard the people shrieking
Seemingly unceasing were the sounds of fright
And then followed the barking
Of dogs and the cops.
                          
On the street the folks had had hooch in torchlight
Away from their pitiful wives and unruly kids
On the moonless and silent, load-shedding night
It was a curfew too—oh, the god-police forbids
Curfew and bandh and general strikes cause no affright
Yet the night was not right that night.  
                         
More boots thudded against the concrete road
And more whipping, more shrilling cries, more barking followed
While I got up from the chair, and knelt down
Gritting my teeth and clenching my fist
I resolved this was just the struggle for existence,
And fighting—this violence fuels our essence
All the happiness killed with the aborted child of the night
And how I wanted to piss on the night’s face!

NOW
How long should we sleep with these nightmares?
With our half-awaked consciousness, with our own errors
It’s no more time we count our lives on prayers.
And how long should we dole out the anti-rabies spares?
For those military men in galore, their evil glares;
For those ever-volatile flares.

When the soaring doves coo,
Giving the clues of the eerie silence of the hills
And about the breathtaking view
We may perchance find serene moorland
Those are aplenty, coming frequently in stills
Unfortunately, though in our own land
We are strangers
The road is not the place to revel
But we do have a Loktak-full of good things to marvel
We love the fair Lady Justice—
with weighing scales, swords—and living gracious.
And there, no more Delhi’s beggars,
no more violence-branders.                               

We will have to dig deeper
Beneath the surface, even beneath the leisha,
To bury the cinder
Of injury and destruction and pseudo-junta
While we unearth the sweet things of life we aspire.






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1/2 1891

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2/2 1891