KV (05-12-1973 / Muzaffarpur)

The Futility Of Being A Spoilsport

Viewed from the windows
of a fast-moving train,
the cables of electricity and telephone

(held aloft by the rows of poles
appearing like the colonnade of village girls
negotiating through bridle path in the fields
with water pitchers on their heads)

seem to run with matching speed
and move upwardly
rising from the shoulder of a pole
only to fall down rather hastily
on the next one
and to re-start rising up smoothly
from still another shoulder.

The pillars of iron
providing strength
supporting and carrying on their heads
the facilitators of modern living
seem to interfere without fail
with the ambitions of the vaulting cables
keeping them in tight leash
obstructing their ascent
as if reminding them
of their limits
of their purpose
of the limited purpose
they have to serve.

The cables, however, continuously
refuse to submit
and like a young enthusiast
are all too willing to rise beyond their roots
notwithstanding the pillars of bondage wanting them to settle down.

This game of rise and fall
of triumph and failure
of love and hate
of temerity and its futility—
how fascinating it all appears!

But, alas, surrogate is the motion of these players
like the light of the moon!
Once the chugging giant decides to run out of breath
and make a halt
this will all end then and there with a jolt!

This habitual spoilsport
how rightfully
it loves ending abruptly
games started by itself
never really understanding
that by halting abruptly
it never really takes the beauty
out of the game played so far.

First Published in 'Indian Literature', March-April 2005, New Delhi

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