Time is a great sadist.
It flees when friends are near
And crawls when mates are apart.
Disproving Arudra* for once
Friend, your train comes on time
And takes you away leaving me behind'
At the foot of the granite night-hill to hammer it out.
Sitting on a platform bench, I await my train.
I start that profoundly foolish act of drilling time
With my needle thin patience
Which sparks off...only seconds by seconds.
Childhood runs on rails.
Hooked like days, empty and heavy cargo wagons
Haul each other.
I count up to forty five
When a super fast train from the opposite direction
Obscures my vision.
Just as the curtain falls at the end of each Act,
Silence rules the roost after each train passes
But for the occasional snore,
The sleeping pond returns to its inertia.
I finish counting the number of chairs, fans,
Pillars, and square slabs
Watch politics boil at the cafeteria
Read the Time Table in the three languages thrice
Measure in steps, the length and breadth of the platform
Fidget with my sweater buttons; yawn
And clean my already-clean eyeglasses once again'
My cherished dream gets announced coming in ten minutes.
People stretch themselves in blanket-cold
And spring to their feet from temporary beds.
I get into the train without much ado - as in a polling booth.
But, stand in suspension, like the fate of the contestants.
Proceedings being held in camera
I will be shut out to the world.
My destination arrives
Like a whiff of fresh air into a choked compartment.
But the famished night stares at me
Still licking its lips in want.
Exhausted, I throw her the brawn
Rising from the orient sky
And walk down to my destiny'
Dozing from its hangover.
*Arudra is a famous Telugu poet who said:
'The train you await
Always runs a lifetime late.'