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Friday, November 20, 2009

the beggar lady

she was fixture at the corner
of aram bagh and frere roads
kashkol in hand, fulgid cheeks
jowls hanging loose
pleading at passers by
with big blurry brown eyes
rarely uttering a word
pedestrians would throw coins

twice a year on holy days
a seth in a long shiny car
would visit her in the dark
bringing her fresh clothes and
for the next few days
she vexed at freshness

one night as pie dogs howled
the beggar lady squat-sleeping
in her corner
a car ran over the curb
pinning her against the wall
Edhi came and hauled her away
the next day a paraplegic
took her spot - ob la di

the other day
not under the influence
i wondered about her
who was she?
where did she come from?
did she have family?
did she dream?
did she dare...?

and that led to...
what is life?
is there a higher purpose?
should there be a purpose?
how long before the tireless
world-waves wash in their wake
dreams dreamt and undreamt?

and then i dozed off

under the peepul tree

under the peepul tree
the children on a mat
the teacher - with pugree and cane
read and the students repeated
as the squirrels (not you ss) frolicked

then out came wooden takhtis (tablets)
with twigs dipped in ink
they'd copy alphabets
at home before dusk
they'd wash the takhti
with clay and let it dry
for the next day

this elementary system
produced the Gandhis
we needed. i wonder
if this can herald change
dramatically different


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