Blue Light At Mawiong

We went out for a drive yesterday and stopping by a Mawiong shop – for cigarettes – I saw again the once-familiar blue fluorescence, emitted by one of those bulbs that is meant to attract insects. I remembered then my father’s mosquito zapper, which shone similarly. I remembered fiddling with it after his funeral. I then became morose with these thoughts. It’s funny how the mind works. How it can leave behind the chatter and wander off into a blue aura. How it can colour memory and animate the dead. Yet it is also the thing that reminds you that none of its figments are real.

How can it do this? Teleporting me to my father’s death-bedside, while my friends drink in the car. How can it show me these things now? The image of his body in a suit – eyes shut – with some hideous cotton up his nose. It is still, seen through curtains, which I dare not part. It is still, seen in no one’s company but my own. It is an image, which has lost some of its details over the years but not its power. It still breaks my heart.

The Unruly

Slowly, I’ve seen the unruly co-opted –
The locality boys I was afraid of –
The boys who smoked bidis
Under the bamboo groves;
They are now buried under
Employment, ”adulthood” and Church.

Why was I so scared of these men
Who are now as docile as hens?
These men aren’t so tough
They could have used that boldness, that wit, that rough.
Now, all they can do is mouth psalms and anecdotes
About great, ‘white’ men
Who lived over there, back then;

Men like Abe Lincoln and Churchill –
Monuments you can no longer interrogate –
Because they’ve changed to clean marble
And that’s what the ”world” wants.
It also wants lads like these,
To exhaust their power and youth,
To rebel and wear down, to become depressed;

To come back like some biblical son,
Work a decent job, rear a decent family;
Then die, decently;
How I hate them for giving up
But they don’t know this!

The Politics That Make A Hive

Put it out of your mind
Cause there are pills for it;
Hope it won’t come to that.

Put it out of your mind
Cause we say it is and it is;
But there’s no need yet.

Put it out of your mind
Cause it’s your own fault;
The trick is to keep busy.

Put it out of your mind
Everyone feels that way;
So there’s no need to act.

Put it out of your mind
Cause it’s not in your mind;
It’s in the streets.

I Have A Dream

There are these small silent people who sneak under our sights:
Old grocer women dragging bags around, depressed men in corners,
Children sifting through dung piles to salvage metals,
Hawkers trying to work, survive Khasi customers.
These are my people.
People left behind in the dust plumes and exhaust,
People who need “development” but will never have it,
There is a better way, a better world that only we hope for,
I want to to run alongside them in chasing that dream.