his body is stretched wide,
on the dunlop mattress
with slight heavy breathings.
There are sounds of washing and rustling
in kitchen at a distance
sweet tinkling and tingling
flowing water in the tap, washing of old torn out
towels and dirty linen
the telephone rings.
Monto removes the quilt,
right hand picks up the hook
and mouth says hello.
He wakes up.
He howls, rages, cries
he languished in sermons,
and like Bhishma
wishes to advise the God of Death
to come during Uttarayan,
so he avoids death
for he has done enough
and does not want a rebirth.
It is embellished with assertions
voice full and hoarse, sometimes ringing.
And gentle other times Monto knows
He pauses, listens, hears and speaks.
He knows he is an intellectual
he understands, he is a modern
no doubts, no explanations
he is gone with her train
such a hindrance slow, sluggish.
Not writhing with passion but a machine
it is love without warmth
she is wife but not a woman, Monto laughs.
Monto looks around, books and books
cuttings and diaries,
pens, pencils, magazines and papers
strewn over and he had read all,
he broods over.
It is lustrous it is ridiculous,
it excites many yearnings and dampens many spirits
he is a giant and watches full and eyes open,
he scatters his body, arms and feels fresh.
He feels the spirits of a nomad
his brain tells him of a prophet,
he is a Moses.
And he launches a marathon dandi
all Gods walk into the room
they are his friends he exhorts,
his tuneful tongue hums a song
Of piety, faith and God.
Decorated fortunes around
sparkle and splatter and he looks,
the door is opened.
His house cleaner making sounds
doing odds, and he remembers tickles soothingly
her body calming him down at night,
it was her journey into a life of experience
when a virgin is made a woman overnight.
He shivers not with guilt but with pleasure and victory
it was her journey Monto feels.
He is still thinking
he is to get up so he looks around
and hums ‘Om’ many a time
and folds hands to salute his gods
hanging on the walls.
He thinks he is a Solomon
for David is declared unfit,
this God spoke to David
and Monto remembers each of them
all blessings, smiling he feels within calmness,
his mind peaceful and swiftly flowing
from image to image.
This house cleaner was so satisfying
it was passion fulfilled
it was lust and virginity
and a virgin wittingly laughing away
to lust without recompense.
Monto smiles on her fate he pondered
she was meant to oblige him,
reasons always not clear it was her Alter.
She symbolized and failed
Monto is the strength, the society,
he boasted, spoke and wrote
in speeches and writings
such freak romances and a few jumps
hall marks of a genius he inferred.
He consoled and laughed at forays into history,
speaks of such blatant assaults
enigmatic yet clear adaptation.
Monto is my Krishna
who won Mitrawida and Lakshmana,
with Seven ‘Strong Bulls” he fought
and so was happy the king,
and Monto draws a parallel relation
Monto is so cunning and finds support
from history and scripture and I alone see and lament,
for Monto has started building a Temple
for when I thought of this character.
He lives within and mocks at me
and always pushes me aside to walk ahead.
Monto needs a cup of tea
he mumbles loudly and a maid appears,
he waits, she is in front of him
shy and gentle but exposed and fact-knowing
he marks her, each contour entices him,
sends waves of thrills
he speaks out her name without a voice
there she moves and he pounces on her
another attack of unending hunger
he eats up her again, food in plenty
she wriggles out, for he live great and grand he is.
Monto thinks it was willingness
that moved him to bed and tea,
and rays of sun enter, he gets up
with a cup of tea in hand and starts.
Looks at today’s engagements
he has to speak at comrade’s meet
so he prepares a speech another hour on Marx,
his communism and Capital, for it is 10 A M
That he shall move out.
Such is the destiny of a man
in society he stands divided
in caste, creed and color
in classes, there is a war, war of survival
class war shall continue
in civilized and savage societies
but survival of the fittest is the dictum, old tested result
it is said in scriptures, Gita also proclaims.
He knows no relation
no blood, no obligation
Sarthi said so.
It was cunningness practiced
Monto said loud mouthed,
for a woman arrow waged a war
Ravana was duped in a subtle way
convincingly he propounded and there were cheers,
socialism is a word for all to eat
for survival and life if poor is eliminated
who will live old worn out formulas,
all sham and falsehood, a clever move of a few rich
to hold on to power in the name of majority.
A baseless proposal that swings and lingers on
reigns deeps and carries out orders
of government majority and poor,
they remain poor in rags and hunger
homeless and spiritless they are murdered.
To fulfill a commitment women are raped
remain a property of luxury
Enjoyed by a few in the system who pronounce majority,
a sustaining contradiction.
A perpetual headache Monto spoke
cheers echoed everywhere.
Monto shall root out
evil, corruption and inequality
economic disparity shall bid good bye,
he swears three cheers.
A messiah has risen from the ashes
he is standing like a liberator
a terrific experiment in liberty and equality.
He knows Isaac and laughs
he behaves like Jacob and shows blessings
for Esau is cheated and so wept
Monto makes a long sweep.
There is clamor, noise and cheer
so Monto rose to dizzy heights
of fame and glory,
it was his speech that made him a giant
a tribute to his intellect.
Monto felt amazed he is a giant
he experienced the touch
it was the grinding anguish
and interminable suffering,
a voice against gave another image
Monto chokes in fame and feels breathless,
in echoes, the crowd thins out
comrades stand by him, he laughs.
And discusses theories of Marx
how it came about
in China, Russia and such like countries,
he analyses revolutions, talks of 1917 and 1949
dates he remembers, arguments spell silence,
he is entertained, lavish tea and lunch
over soft drinks and drinks unknown
and then seminars in a hotel room
he understands the darkness of night.
There are men and women
and he falls for women,
from a maid to a princess
a genuine weakness strengthens.
His ethics give him insight into scriptures and religions
he laughs at manipulations, he succeeds, none knows
and nobody shall know when he shall concentrate in a hotel,
with a comrades’ daughter it is teaching without boundaries
he knows that, and the comrade understands,
his daughter pays the fees, an experience that remains
unforgettable, Monto is great and supreme.
He is Samson and a lover but not allow him
to be shaven by Philistines and get imprisoned,
it is enough.
That his sweet voiceless maid
and comrade’s, pretty daughter
or like them are his Delilahas.
He is stunned at his fantasy
of success and so he justifies.
And discussion ends nowhere
he talks of labor on roads,
farmers working in fields, skeletons loading and unloading,
beggars in tattered clothes, children with begging bowls
of hunger and poverty, of corruption and exploitation
of sufferings and deaths, of palaces and huts.
He exploits emotions from a straw to a golden ring
of hoarders and blackmailers, of smugglers and bootleggers
of systems and sadhus.
All make a society that is corrupt and evil
he speaks fast and lucid, no mincing of words,
and stretching of meaning, all facts away from fiction
but still so intimate.
It is neither a poet’s dream nor novelists’ world
neither God visualized it nor men thought of it
Monto repeats with passion that he poured out,
on comrade’s daughter and maid
for they do not want his strength.
He knows an evil and lie but who is he to disclaim
when world digests it as a truth,
he understands the roaming pulse
and slumbering intellect of people and society.
He scans the world around
he stands around and midst legends,
and very high and tall, my Monto is a man of dreams
who went out without warning.
Now subsides noise and rumble
no piercing storm and he walks out.
Monto attends a literary symposium
he discusses men and material,
poets and fiction, culture and tradition
a great event,
writers are harbingers of a new order
torch bearers of truth and beauty,
not only Keats said but so say the seers,
a duty is enjoined upon those who write
should speak of harmony and peace.
Man is one make him classless
blood is red and casteless
emotions are similar
make man a God and no distinction,
no cleavage among men
no chasm on caste and creed,
no two religions, for the world is one
man is the same so one message of truth,
would do a long service, Monto is so sure.
He is my Monto standing lofty and talking high
he is my dream of my making,
he is lord of a charming Ahalya, no effect of any curse,
He can send Sita to exile and still laugh.
I made him what he is but he stabbed and killed me
I do not repent he is my child,
I breathe through him Monto is great.
He is an intellectual
he is leader, a writer and everything,
he knows how to live in a world
of lies and hatred.
He is my computer he organizes and prophesies
he kills, he enjoys
he is stoutly walking into eternity
world knows him and knows not,
that is his victory and my defeat
My Monto I salute who lives cleverly in this world.
Poets speak of ideas they feel not
writers write of men they never met,
fiction is created without truth, it is rootless.
It teaches many things, creates vacuum
it writes of a man and berates him
writings do not create culture.
But feed sex and violence
cheap emotions, simple traditions,
writers smoke and in smoke
they see a philosophy in cozy rooms,
they think of sun burnt faces
in warm cushions talk of beggars,
such is a living of surviving ethos
it must be killed.
Omissions are there but rare
Monto enunciates new principles
and so he finishes amidst cheers,
a young poetess comes and he greets her
he discusses writers and writings
cultures and religions, all are enamored.
My Monto grows high and moves forward
and teaches the young poetess
the art of emotions through experience
and becomes her Vatsayana,
and gives her a kiss unasked
for he has hit eye of fish and so has won her
Monto is wanton but nobody knows
He rises to the sky.
This is a grand dinner
Monto is the chief guest
all reformers and rascals assembled here
he meets power and politics,
generates goodwill and seeks a treaty
as if a war without reasons.
Big babus are the stream
of continuity and balance
in change and progress.
Again a contradiction
women deride him as a cast off
he ridicules the opinion maker
he is a sucker, is seductive and handsome.
Monto impresses so none argues
babus fail and he plans, brings Plato to life
eulogizes Gandhi, explains Aristotle
Monto casts a silent shroud of mystery and enigma,
that is his destiny.
Between wine and a woman
ruler and a business tycoon,
lingers a shadow.
He talks of the poor, of Das and Unto This Last
of class war and classless society
and there hinges a perpetual
Glory of man’s progress
his spiritual win and bodily death
love languishes in feelings
when Monto sees his bygone years.
Married to a big officer, she calls Monto to a corner
and professes an undying love
invites him when husband is on tour
Monto accepts her and feels happy,
he goes with the woman, unattached
and scores another point,
for he has so many lagos within.
Monto repeats words of Salieri when Pushkin said
‘I have never wept tears like these before
Both sweet and bitter’
thoughts of sadness come to Monto
but he gives a big laugh.
His laughter continues and on barren deserted streets
he finds an empty consolation
and the road provides sympathy,
he has talked much, lived a full day
without conceding a point living each moment,
in a counter point of love and argument.
Dogs bark at while stray cows meet him
cow dung spoils shoes, asses bray on the other side,
jackals roar it appears,
ghost like shadow fall on the deserted lanes
when he rolls back,
roads are empty and streets forlorn
shadows sojourn, silent houses
a thin mist slowly descends, he watches, and is gloomy.
My Monto sadly walks and I feel pity
my creation fails me I tremble and shudder.
I pull apart the strings but Monto does not respond,
he breaks the rope and thus runs amuck.
I weep without mercy, Monto walks with glory and tears
and knocks at the door as waiting maid opens,
and she asks him to make her his wife
he is shocked no, not now, he gets angry.
World is too wide and large
there is another dream, another world of facts,
lets us exist he tells her, together in these moments
shall we enjoy a perfect life.
And so duping the maid, Monto takes her to bed anew
to make her a woman again of his pleasure and her intend,
so Monto lives away from me in a world
created by him for him amidst graveyards,
and noisy forlorn cemeteries of hope and faith
of death and another life.
Life of a world that exists for everyone
and I weep and bemoan, for my Monto died,
to make me live another world of dreams
and thus I pray alone
for another Monto to rise again.