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Sanjukta Dasgupta

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Sanjukta Dasgupta

Rosy Starlings murmuration. Photo by Nitoo Das


So long it had been the firangis who did it
But once they went
We do it to our own, for their good

Women, men and children
Ran out of their own homes and land
Seeking refuge in camps

All of them were of the wrong colour
So were their ducks, hens, goats, cows
But they stole their livestock despite the hated colour

Not the timeless war between brand names of Gods
But the seduction for more, instantly some more
Made them puppets of cold-blooded politics

Dazed by the word-jugglers
Long-distance compassion
Misguided efforts

They shot each other on their beloved land
Pathetic puppets with primitive symbols
Sickle, hammer, rods and spears

But in real use
Were rocket launchers, landmines
AK47s and other swanky toys of death

The good earth became a killing field
Neighbours became enemies overnight
Ishwar and Allah were summoned to divide further
Those who had lived in peace so long

Even the refugee camps were invaded
Peace became a tearful prayer for
Refugees in their home places

Those who manipulated the gullible marionettes
Had dreams of conquest
Their capital this time was of course ignorance

Those we thrust into our backyards
They are the ones who pull us back-
The wisdom of the poet's words of long ago

So fearfully distorted
Revised and twisted into a time-serving
Grotesque pastiche, a charade
A nightmare pretending to be a wake-up call!


"Ma, you are my real mother"
The orphan youth exclaimed
As he felt free at last
A surrogate son
Liberated forever
From the maze and myopia
Of pride and prejudice
Icons and idols.

Unfettered Gora, at last stood tall
He felt weightless like a feather riding
A wind-chariot on an azure autumn sky
"He had no mother, no father, no country, no caste,
No name, no family , no gotra, no deity"

All those self inflicted taboos
Became irrelevant
As Gora was re-born
When he said he would drink water
Brought in by Lachhmia-
"Ma, please send for your Lachhmia now.
Ask her to fetch me some water"

Lakshmi Unbound: A Soliloquy

"Killing the Angel in the House was part of the occupation of a woman writer"

                                                                     ~ Virginia Woolf

Don't, don't, call me Lakshmi
I can't ever be Lakshmi
I want to fly kites
I want to climb trees
I want to read and write
I want to sing and dance
I want to climb mountains
I want to swim in the seas
I want to do what I like
Whenever I like

I want to be mad
I want to be bad
I can't be in corners of four walled spaces
I can't be in eddies
I want to flow in the mainstream
I want to be in whirlpools
I want to roam and run
I want to eat fruits from trees
I want to drink to the last drop
The juice of grapes
I want to cook for myself
I want to dream
I want to pace the rainbow arch
In a spectacular hallucination

I can't be Lakshmi
I will ever fail this endurance test
I have to speak
I have to cry
I have to scream
I have to laugh
I have to swim in rivers
I cannot swim in pools
I want to fly like an eagle
I want to glide like a feather

I will forever fail this endurance test
I have flung off the Cello tape on my lips
I will sing the freedom song
I may not be Lakshmi
But I am

I just can't be Lakshmi
I have to break the silence
My wealth is not jewels
My wealth is my gipsy spirit

I can't be Lakshmi
I can't be good, sane, silent Lakshmi
I can't be the Angel in someone's house
I don't want to be a disembodied spirit
I don't want to be Lakshmi
I am Alakshmi
Trap me if you can!


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