Friday, April 22, 2011

Salaam: Narayan Surve


She said to the apothecary:
My heart is broken, sort of
Do you have a prescription for unhappiness?

He walked through
The city roads
In the sludge and filth
Day dreaming about becoming
A star vendor for oranges in the city bazaar

Just then
A pack of dogs barked
Chased him
He panicked
He tried to run, he tripped
With his basket of oranges

And his dream evaporated

When the dogs unpeeled the oranges and squashed them

Every time
She stepped out
To purchase yesterday's vegetables
At the lowest market price
It rained
And she got drenched

Every time
He stepped out
His troubles began
He knew not how to re-pay his family debts

Every time
The two of them stepped out, together
It was to save the fare to the nearby station
That's how their love began
In a rickshaw with the slogan
Dosti pakki, kharcha apna apna

When Narayan Surve exited
They blew their own trumpet
Draped him in the national flag

Would have been nicer if they
Honoured him with a flat

When he was breathing

She saw him
He smiled back
And got a 17.5% tip

My wife
Does not mind me taking a book to bed
Which I read
All through the night
Since the book is harmless

She knows not
The book I'm reading
Is potent

Has caused the downfall
Of three tyrants
And their military governments

She reached home
Sipped warm water
Swallowed a pregaba

What would it be?

Verdi's Requiem or Handel's Messiah?
Before she could answer
Her head
Was spinning
, swimming

She fell asleep without feeding her kittens
All of whom
Perched on her back, playfully
Yet again

The young intern
Who her boss said: resembled the woman
In the renaissance painting
Worked 14 hours

One day
When she entered her boss' cabin
To leave the quarterly report on the teak-table
She looked up

She had vanished from the painting

My death is planned
A funeral pyre next to the sea like Shelley
The fire providing warmth to rats, urchins and addicts
Some music, no dance
Free arrack for all

My ashes being washed away by the next tide
Intermingled with the early morning ablutions of Koli women
Who will wash their bottoms with a bit of me

So? Who did Godot wait for?

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