Tuesday, April 24, 2007

My 42nd encounter with the peacock

What are you doing?
Asked the peacock to me
I'm writing 1,38,198 commas
On a piece of acid-free paper
Said I

Why commas
Asked the peacock

Since I can't match
The 884,647 words of Shakespeare
Till such time
I will mirror his commas

On Diwali day
I said
May a thousand diyas be lit, everyday
That's a lot of diya oil replied the peacock

Plus the light
Which casts long shadows
That will prevent my beauty sleep
Then my dreaming

Who discovered this thing called commode?
A marvellous piece of furniture
Tad better than Darjeeling tea
Said the peacock
Occupying the toilet
Reading my Sunday newspaper

The moneylender murdered by his wife
Says the peacock to me
Did you know?

The story is as follows
The moneylender and his wife are married in a state of discontentment
He beats her, she hates him
He drinks, she objects

She starves him
He steals food meant for her pet dogs
She plots revenge
Commits adultery
With his best friend

The moneylender files a deposition
Best friend is bankrupt
Moneylender is triumphant
Wife is depressed
She chews wild weeds
In a dreadful state of mind, she kills the moneylender

She is arrested
Best friend is arrested
Since the moneylender has willed the money in his name
Best friend becomes a lover-acomplice

This is the story of your village
Of its unhappiness
Says the peacock to me
What happened to the pet dogs, I ask?

Says, the peacock
As always you pose the wrong query
Since the day of the trial, the dogs start to starve
On the day of the judgement, they eat other
To their heart's content

How do you know all this, I ask
The peacock replies, village gossip

In my next life
I want to be a purpled-frog
Croaked the peacock
My visiting card will read: Mr Nyctibatrachus
Qualification: Outlived the dinosaur

Friday, April 20, 2007

My 41st encounter with the peacock

You read so much
Said the peacock to me
It's not such a filthy vice
As you make it out to be
I retorted

I prefer action
For its eloquence
Even if in your eyes I'm ignorant
I'm actually much more learned than you

Saying so he strutted off in a huff

Next day
I watched the peacock
Mimic the rise and fall of waves
Matching its rhythm
The peacock stood still
No movement whatsoever

That was the day
The sea
Realised the relative unimportance
Of low tides, high tides

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

My 40th encounter with the peacock

The peacock said to me
Peacocks are better than humans
How so? I asked
We don't listen
To others talk (ill-informedly) about sports, politics, art, holiday ideas, diseased family members, price of stocks
For 23,789 hours of our life

That's called open mindedness, I said
It's called squandering your time, he said
As I listened to him

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

My 39th encounter with the peacock

The barber, he, dutiously trimmed my beard
Under a Jacaranda tree
Whose leaves were falling

Said the peacock
Who I didn't recongnise
Sans his feathers

Whose was the greater loss?
My beard, the Jacaranda
The peacock?

Or the barber
Who hawked people's hair
To fund his fees
For night-school

Sunday, April 8, 2007

My 38th encounter with the peacock

Half a kilo of pure happiness
Can you home deliver that to me
After all, I'm the national bird of this unhappy country
Since 1963

You don't want me flying
Across the border
To Burma or Sri Lanka
As a mark of protest

My 37th encounter with the peacock

Why don't you fly
Ever so high
Like the other birds
In the sky

My feet are ugly
I want to hide them
If I fly you will be able to see my feet
Said the peacock

That's how the peacock and I
Set out to purchase a pair of shoes

Saturday, April 7, 2007

My 36th encounter with the peacock

I woke up in the morning
Travelled in a ST bus
40 kilometres, to the town jail
To bail the peacock

I found
The peacock with six washerwomen
In the male part of the prison

The FIR said
The peacock is dangerous
He was found with a knife; and he could throw
Whiskey bottles

The peacock said
The whiskey bottles were targetted at the whiskey-bottle gang
Who were teasing the washer-women
That bathe in our river

I asked the policeman to be reasonable
How can a peacock wield a knife or a whiskey bottle
The policeman asked: is this peacock your pet?
Or a local gangster?

When we were discharged
En route home
The peacock was cross with me
He preferred the comforts of a jail
With its air conditioner, fridge and a DVD player
That played the same Hindi film songs
Day in and night out

Friday, April 6, 2007

My 35th encounter with the peacock

We spotted
A peacock pantry
In the tall grass
Near the shallow stream

Rs 10 - Baked corn
Rs 8 - Roses
Rs 7- Lizards and frogs
Rs 5 - Bugs, flower petals, bananas
Rs 5 - Bread crumbs, cheese, rice, and even styrofoam pellets

Non-veg meals - Rs 40
Veg meals - Rs 30
Taxes extra
Which included baby cobras

I abstained from lunch
Which the peacock packed, promptly

Thursday, April 5, 2007

My 34th encounter with the peacock

Book my air tickets
I plan to travel to the Congo basin
In Africa
Said the peacock to me

His cousin, the Afropavo Congensis
Was getting married
What should I gift him for dowry?
Asked the peacock to me

Monday, April 2, 2007

My 33rd encounter with the peacock

Can peacocks dream
I don't know, I replied
When the peacock asked me this question
I looked up from the newspaper
That reported how Charles Ingabire
An online editor
Was shot dead in Kampala

That night I dreamt
Three mini dreams

The peacock
Entering Zara Zara
Purchases a trench coat and parkas
To cover his nakedness

The peacock visiting
Montparnasse Cemetery
Points out Beckett's grave
Such a lot of fuss over the dead
He says

What are those?
Tombstones to lock the dead
He asks
What if I fly away
That's why the Hindus burn their dead
On a wooden pyre with ghee

The peacock is tried in a court
By a Hutu and a Tutsu
In Kigali
For being a peacock