The National Library
Poem By Khurshid Alam
Many couples couple to the serene campus
But they don’t love; never marry each other
Yet they’re apace for a feeling unrealised
They often take bits of paper and make equations
They do, they don’t; till they get a predominant zero.
Some scholars come in boots and tie
With shirt-in on fine pants and the glasses
On their nose which tell how much ordeal
They’ve suffered and they work daylong
For their purpose and gather all papers
And they make a good name and win fame.
Many regulars hunt the library, in the Main Building
In the Magazine section, and other Departments
They chose; and browse through the documents
And come back with signatures in the register
In a faint hope: they would find an alcove
Some day later and the readers would study
Them through their signatures – how they fritted
Their time, many for decades and created
Noise and bustle in the Depart Mental canteen
And their mind is departed indeed from the deeds
Yet they don’t get tired of their indolence!
Some silent readers never agitate but study
In the corner and they pack up their papers
In the Xerox and in the notes they jot down and go
With their purpose finished and complete
Their degrees and diplomas of their institutes
And they go away with time. They never oppose
The arsenic water or the nicotinic tea
Or the intolerable noise created by the stand-fans.
Those who’d roamed in the luxurious library once
Come off and on though years might pass
As if they’re addicted to take a look at the building
Bibliophile or nostalgic they might have gown!
But they pride to associate with it in short!
(This poem was published in the journal Readers’ Mind, Vol.1, No.1. Oct-Dec,2004. A journal published by the National Library Readers’ Forum, Calcutta, India) .