The Mysterious Man

My mother scoffed at us for ours no fault
She had put sweets from offerings in a box
To distribute the sacred eating equally among us all:
“All should have equal favour”, she taught.
Free from her daily routines she opened the box
“And four sweets were missing, she found
Who stole the parshad? ” she shouted
And threw the rest to us without a choice.
We’re surprised who stole the sweat
We enquired each who committed the mischief
None was brought to the book
Every one swore none knew anything!

My sceptic father kept an aid-box ready at hand
If there’s a mishap and we’d be treated at the instance
And then my sister broke her toe
She screamed in pain and created a hue
My father searched the box every nook and corner
But no trace of it could he find. He abused us all
She cried at the highest and raised the sensation
To enrage my father who loved her more than us
We searched it everywhere without a trace
But we found neither the box nor the mischief
We’re surprised. Every one swore none knew anything!

Posters and banners they put every Friday
For the movies that would play at the theatre
By the next day many posters were torn
Some beyond their sign, some half-bitten.
Many invigilators were left to look into the secret
And they searched high and low with no avail
“Who did it? ” they always thought chewing
Tobacco, or with cigarettes between their lips
For they said the pills added some more intelligence
But they always came back with empty hands.

There’s always a Mysterious Man who does the mischief
And hides himself some where in silence to laugh at us
In troubles and confusion with no trace of him.

Note: Publsihed in Muse India, Sep-Oct 2009.

by Khurshid Alam

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