Workshop

The Mendacious Mendicant

  I was born poor, on the sidewalks of an unnamed city,
To parents with no names, with no special attributes.
I spent my childhood, begging and stealing,
With no schooling or special talents to contribute.

As I grew older, pick pocketing became my specialty,
I built a reputation with my slick dexterity.
While I spent time in the slammer, I recognized that
I had nothing to show, for the sake of posterity.

Then I met a scoundrel; more hideous than a hyena,
Who taught me how to imitate a holy man.
I took a journey to the foothills of Himalayas,
To learn the tricks, of becoming a conman.

I learned to look divine, and grew a long beard,
Learnt a few verses from the Sanskrit holy books.
On occasion, when, my situation demanded explanation,
I took the vow of silence, just like the other crooks.

I donned the saffron robe, and the beads, and ashes,
Came to Gokul, wearing loincloth and wooden slippers.
To the temple of Krishna, where holy men like me abound,
Fleecing and duping, the innocent devoted worshippers.

Pretending to renounce worldly pleasures, in fake deference,
I sang all the hymns I could forge, praising Lord Govind.
Hunger was no match for a square meal, however abstemious,
And satiety came not from consuming mud, water or wind.

Faithful pilgrims prostrated, and begged for my blessings,
My charade worked, and with authority I intoned few chants.
To enhance my ‘spirituality’, in the cover of night, in secrecy,
I consumed libations, with my accomplices and sycophants.

With passage of time I felt invulnerable, I grew more confident,
There were no ‘sucker’ pilgrims I was unable to fool and enchant.
Then, in broad daylight - a picture; with a cell phone, and cigarette,
My reputation tanked, thence, I became the mendacious mendicant.  

14-May-2002

More by :  Dr. Neria H. Hebbar

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