Once I eavesdropped on a funny chatter,

“How are you?” Asked one, the other said, “Now much better!”

Oh! What happened asked the questioner,

The latter chuckled, “What! You don’t remember?

Last time we met, my wife had fled

Shared my grief with you, dear friend.

You consoled me a lot with your words,

Then wrote me a panacea on your business card.

Never had I tasted the Chateau Bordeaux before.

I sleep like a baby, the monkey mind jumps no more.

No more am I sad, my grief is gone,

May be I am addicted to wine, But one eye is definitely better than none.”

 

Strictly from an observer’s view,

If addiction is the antidote to grief,

Suffering is just a few blocks away – dumb is your disbelief!

Problem breeds problems – don’t you get this simple insight,

Infesting your home with cockroaches doesn’t kill the termite!

 

Saw a horrid scene from afar,

A stray dog chasing a motor car,

Zoom passed the car, way above speed limit,

Followed by the loudest bark, way above noise limit.

In a jiffy it all became quiet,

I went to the dog and asked, “Is what you did right?”

Said he, “I am a dog, what else can I do? Aren’t you humans supposed to be bright?

Look at the hanging leg of mine

A few days back, it walked just fine.

One night while on my midnight nap,

A car crushed my leg, awe it snapped.

While I was crying tears of agony,

The drunk driver hummed ‘Piggy on the railway line’ and hurried away as if it’s simply funny.”

 

Strictly from an observer’s view,

Is Carelessness the outcome of freedom

My pain is pain, others’ just tantrum?

Since when did we become so individual, so free?

It’s all connected; we even breathe-in the breathe-outs of a tree!

 

Who’s the drunken driver – may be you can guess!

Who is to be blamed for this horrific mess ?

Although it sounds comic when put this way,

“The dog lost a leg coz a man’s wife ran away.”

Insensitive no doubt, funny nonetheless,

But the joke’s on us, our lives are no sacred place!

 

How else do you justify,

A child molested somewhere, because the molester lacked education,

A disease broke out somewhere, because the society lacked sanitation,

A society in doldrums, because the politicians engage in corruption,

Nature irreversibly damaged, because we are on the cusp of evolution!

 

To hell with your justification,

They have already escaped the purview of reason.

For once look at yourself in the mirror,

The culprit of all crimes will rightfully appear.

To each one, we ourselves are our friend and foe,

The onus of action is on us, so also the resultant joy or woe.

 

Raging with these thoughts, my mind was restless,

But the events that followed were way beyond my guess!

 

With the dog’s consent, I filed a police complaint,

But the cop turned out to be a pig instead,

A filthy liar, a slimy crook!

Justice is a far cry; his life hangs on the bribery hook.

The case file got lost in the closet,

He insists, “The ants took it for a dinner date!”

 

Strictly from an observer’s view,

Injustice is the outcome of power,

Truth gets bashed at the hands of the liar,

The crooks, the sinners; beasts in the garb of human,

It’s not too late to realize –

The fire that cooks and warms, handled irresponsibly burns the very house of man”.

 

Although the day had been barely fruitful,

On my way back, I saw two girls coming from school.

Walking hand in hand, gossiping fairy tales,

Disturbed a busy ant-line; Ah! those childish games.

As soon as they left, I went closer to the ants,

Asked “Hey sugar-stealers, why perturbed by this act!

I could see your queue from half a mile,

If someone crosses your line, isn’t it just fine?

Why so busy, what’s the deal with all these sugar cubes?”

They echoed in union – ‘It’s the Queen’s order to fill the vast tube.’

Carrying fifty times your weight, working day and night long,

Enjoy your plunders and make merry, while you are still strong,

For which rainy day are you stashing, on what hope?

Fiercely they replied,

“What nonsense are you talking; the queen is our leader, her scent makes us dope!”

 

Strictly from an observer’s view,

Where are we going, why do we go there?

What do we wish to attain; Is it worth? Is it fair?

An unconscious, conditioned busy life of work;

Like a man with blinders, walking a tight rope in dark.

 

Reflecting on the lessons I learnt,

The situations I encountered, the emotions I felt,

Dilly dallied my way back home,

To the comforts of my personal zone.

Three knocks on the door I made,

Swinging it open, my wife said

“Grace! You made it back home safe,

Dinner’s on the table, for dessert I baked your favourite cake.”

Oh! The beauty of her face, the sweetness in her voice,

The homely sofa, the candle minarets, my melancholy lost its trace.

The next few hours passed in delight

‘Its bedtime’ sang the clock; I kissed her goodnight.

 

I am a one-eyed beggar with a limping dog as my pet,

Ants partaking of my bowl, a man trying to crush me under his moped.

Heart pounding, profusely sweating, I woke up in disbelief,

Oh! It’s just a dream; heaved a deep sigh of relief.

Grabbed some almonds and a chocolate-fudge,

Happily went back to sleep without a grudge.

 

Now I am a king with three wives at my service,

Relishing mangoes, strawberries and many other delicacies.

Ah! The beautiful costumes and enchanting views,

The command I summon and the actions I review !

 

Suddenly a loud noise and smokes galore,

‘Our kitchen is on fire’ my wife let out a roar.

Cries and confusion ensued till the firemen arrived,

Doused off the fire and helped us revive.

 

She went back to bed when all was fine,

But recovering I was from a personal dilemma of mine.

Whether to be happy for the one-eyed beggar I am not,

Or to cry for the kingdom I lost, or be sad for the kitchen all-burnt”.

 

The question still remained,

What’s real in all three events that happened?

Introspection went deep as night gave way to day,

My question did not sleep neither did it go away.

The consistency and material nature; this waking world is real,

That’s not the case with dreams; of course they are unreal.

Dream is just few hours, a pattern in our sleep,

Waking is the real world, where we think, feel, laugh and weep.

 

Albeit softly, a voice within murmured,

This real world is real till death knocks on the door.

Then its just a mysterious void

No one returns from the land of the dead.

 

A deep sense of detachment washed me over,

My friends and family appeared so distant yet near.

 

Strictly from an observer’s view,

It’s all impermanent; one big illusion,

This moment – Here, next moment – Gone,

Our dreams, thoughts, feelings and actions,

All in a flux for no apparent reason.

An infinite universe with infinite randomness,

We specs of dust; reasoning right and wrong in our little-mindedness.

Peeking through a keyhole at such vast nature,

Can we ever see the larger scheme of things – The Big Picture?

That’s the question that has gripped my attention,

Silence has dawned on me, Solitude my sole companion…

 

Pay Anything You Like

Basudev Om

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