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Nissim Ezekiel: Night of the Scorpion

Night of the Scorpion is a poem in which the poet remembers how his mother was stung, bitten by a scorpion crawling most probably beneath the knapsack and traceless. The steady rains of some ten hours would have driven to crawl beneath, take the shelter.

Parting with the poison it injected and with the flash of the diabolic tail, risked it again to be out. People started for searching it, its hide out, but of no use, no avail, it was not. The devil, demon was gone, fled it from there. The search went in vain, and it could not be, the satanic being with some devious plan of doing harm to.

The peasants came in numbers casting their long shadows on the sunbaked mud-walls, following them as ever, taking the name of Gad a hundred times with lanterns and oil lamps into the hands of theirs. They came to see and to wish early recovery; they came to see and pray for. While going to see, they clicked their tongues in prayer. They wished the scorpion to sit still as the movement might aggravate the pain. Gathering around, with the mother at center, they discussed the sin of the previous birth and the present birth, they talked of papa and punya, karma and dharma and the balancing of good and bad actions, what it was in fate, destiny, lot. A motley of Indian rural crowds, they wished good action and bad action be balanced. They debated and discussed it in faith, blind faith, karma and dharma. How does it Dharmaraja take a note of that calculating it in the end, the good works that do you, the bad works that do you, a sum total of all that, after adding and subtracting from?

Given the time and situation one of a rainy day when the incessant rains were doing the rounds, with no respite or any beak from, so many insects were abuzz around in the light they sat around his mother with peace reflecting on the faces and they seemed to be complacent with wisdom dawning upon, quite, at rest and in peace with But his father a skeptic and a rationalist thought of his way, putting the paraffin oil on the bitten toe and putting a match to it and thereafter the flames kept feeding upon and thereafter the herbalist tried his best to apply a paste to diminish the pain. The gunin tried his best to tame the poison by invoking the Naga Devata to relieve from sarpa-dansha or visha. The alchemists, pharmacists, druggists, exorcists-cum-priests and so on gathered to search for a remedy. Had there been a license, medical practitioner it would have been great. To see it otherwise, it was but an amalgamation of Ayurvedic, Unani, Homeopathy, Holistic Healing and so on.

Finally, the mother came to her senses and thanked God for picking her rather than her son which was but her good feminine motherly self speaking and this is what every woman expects for and wishes.

“More candles, more lanterns, more neighbours,
more insects, and the endless rain."

these are but images and pictures, how did the people come to hearing about, how did the news spread to?

"My mother twisted through and through,
groaning on a mat.",

tells about the mother writhing in pain, moaning and groaning, turning and twisting her body.

Why do the people give pain to other? Is it their nature? Or, they cannot without it? Is to sting its nature? How do the bad people do it? Do they not fear God? Will they not suffer for? Why has the scorpion been made? And for what good? Why did God? What was in His Mind so that he created the image of the scorpion with a diabolic tail and poison?

But the scorpion after the bite lies it in hiding. How much daredevil is it! How satanic, devilish and demoniac!

Is samsara of dukhha and sukkha? Is bhoga in our lot? How much of it, who can say it as everyone has to suffer? Nissim often engages us with his philosophical discussion.

But his father has also his on views and perception, no less than anyone else:

"My father, sceptic, rationalist,
trying every curse and blessing,
powder, mixture, herb and hybrid.
He even poured a little paraffin
upon the bitten toe and put a match to it.
I watched the flame feeding on my mother.
I watched the holy man perform his rites to tame the poison with an incantation."

His stance is bold and daring and is up-to-date rather than mediaeval and superstitious in comparison to others. The holy man also tried from his part as much as he could. However be that, the multiple attempts worked wonders with her returning to senses after twenty hours. The title is very beautiful as for the pick, the night of the scorpion. This has a history of owns as because during hot and humid summer nights scorpions used to come out in a plenty in our countryside homes. It appears horrible when one confronts a scorpion looking strange with its bizarre and grotesque outlook and tail. How strange the movement of it, moving upwards and backwards too and the tail the antenna!


More by :  Bijay Kant Dubey

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