On Sustaining Strokes
A slight before the wintry nights,
The vivacious children of the street,
Signaled whistling with inviting voices,
That we all should come out of the houses,
To be beaten amusingly playing a game.
We could not resist and came out all,
Gathered in the yard with no wall around,
And squatted in circles with bending heads,
Then was twisted an Anchal, pale or red,
Into a flog hard, longer than a yard.
One of the older moved and moved around,
And placed silently behind one of us,
On the turn next, he began to beat,
We ran and ran around in circles,
Sustaining strokes on the delicate backs.
While running around and being beaten,
I did feel perhaps the participants older,
Lashed to harden, toughen us more,
To face beats and callous odds of life,
When we would grow up, pacing on the path.