Ten Rupees

Based on an incident narrated by my my nephew,  Amlan,  and partly on my imagination.  Wrote in my mother tongue, Assamese (Axomiya), first and translated.

One little girl dressed in tattered clothes
On the footpath, barely noticeable

Old ice cream vendor pushing his ice cream cart
Stationed in front of the elite school to earn his daily bread

School is over, students rushing out eager to go home
Ice cream on a hot day, tempting, earning should be good today

Parents,anxiously waiting to take their wards home
Lots of work still to be finished, homework and all

Little girl unaware of the students milling around
Her lustful gaze fixed on the icecreams in their hands

Sudden commotion, daily peaceful ritual disrupted
Little girl with tattered clothes midst of students neatly dressed

Ice cream vendor cursing and scolding, little girl sneering
Her demand for leaving, must have a ice cream today

Even if he wants,  he can’t give it free
His family’s daily meal depends on his earnings

Took out Rs. Ten and gave it to the little girl
Glaring eyes,sneer on her lips, ice cream in her hands, she left

Heart filled with sadness and images of future’s  ominous clouds
One day,as a citizen of the country,won’t she claim her birth rights

If that demand on future takes a dangerous destructive turn
Instead of ice cream,to claim her rights, she takes up a gun

Administration, that day, will spend millions of ten rupees bill
Crush under their boots,they will, her demand to live with dignity

Will this five years old little girl live till that day

Or much before be a footnote in the inside pages of local newspapers
A news item that nobody read, discarded to societal amnesia

Rs. Ten = approximately 15 cents US


দহ টকাৰ নোটখন

এজনী ছোৱালী, অকণমানি সৰু ছোৱালী
ফটা ছিটা কাপোৰেৰে ফুটপাথত, চকুত পৰাৰ কোনো কাৰণ নাই

বুঢ়া আইচক্ৰীমৱালা আইচক্ৰীমৰ গাড়ীখন ঠেলি
প্ৰাইভেট স্কুলখনৰ গেটৰ সন্মুখত, দিনৰ শেষত কিছু উপাৰ্জনৰ আশাত

এজাক ছাত্ৰ ছাত্ৰীৰ দল, স্কুল ছুটীৰ পিছত ঘৰলৈ
আইচক্ৰীমৱালাৰ সন্মুখত ভীড় , উপাৰ্জন ভালেই হব

অস্হিৰ অভিভাৱকৰ দল, ঘৰলৈ যাবৰ সময়
আগত বহুতো কাম, লৰা ছোৱালীৰ স্কুলৰ

ছোৱালীজনীৰ চকু ওলাই আহা ছাত্ৰ-ছাত্ৰী বোৰৰ ওপৰত নহয়
তাইৰ লোলুপ দৃষ্টি সিহঁতৰ হাতৰ আইচক্ৰীম বোৰত

দৈনন্দিন ডুখৰীয়া ছবিত হঠাতে ব্যতিক্ৰম ঘটিল
ধুনীয়া পোছাক পিন্ধা লৰা ছোৱালী জাকৰ মাজত ছোৱালীজনী

আইচক্ৰীমৱালাৰ ধমকি, ছোৱালীজনীৰ ওঠত ভেঙুচালি
তাইক আজি লাগিবই, নহলে নাযায়, দাবী

দিবলৈ ইচ্ছা থাকিলেও বিনামূলীয়াকৈ দিবৰ উপায় নাই
আইচক্ৰীম বিক্ৰীৰ উপাৰ্জনৰে ঘৰখন টুকটাককৈ চলায়

পৰিবাৰৰ পৰা টকা দহটা লৈ ছোৱালীজনীলৈ আগবঢ়াই দিলো
চকুত আগ্নেয়গিৰি, হাতত আইচক্ৰীম, ওঠত ভেঙুচালি লৈ তাই আতৰি গ ল

মন বিষাদৰে ভৰিল অনাগত ভৱিষ্যতৰ অশনি সংকেতত
স্বাধীন দেশৰ নাগৰিকৰ প্ৰাপ্য ছোৱালীজনীয়ে দাবী নকৰিব জানো

সেই দাবীয়ে যদি সেইদিনা ধংসাত্মক ৰূপ লয়
নিজৰ প্ৰাপ্য সাব্যস্ত কৰিবলৈ হাতত মৰণাস্ত্ৰ তুলি লয়

ৰাষ্ট্ৰীয় শাসনযন্ত্ৰই সেইদিনা হয়তো বহলাখ দহটকীয়া নোট খৰছ কৰিব
স্বাধীন দেশৰ নাগৰিকৰ আত্মসন্মানৰে জীয়াই থকাৰ অধিকাৰ মোহাৰি পেলাবলৈ

পাঁচবছৰীয়া ছোৱালীজনী সেই দিনটোলৈ বাচি থাকিবনে

হয়তো তাৰ বহু আগতেই দৈনিক বাতৰিকাকতৰ ভিতৰৰ পৃষ্ঠাৰ তলত
কোনেও নপঢ়া এটা সংবাদ হৈ পাহৰণিৰ গৰ্ভত হেৰাই যাব

Wheel of Life: Week 18 of My Fifty Two Weeks Journey with “W”

Today was my daughter’s high school graduation.  It was a warm day. Temperatures were hovering around mid 90F.  Hot weather did not dampen the spirit and enthusiasm of the freshly minted graduates.  Graduation ceremony was held outdoor in the beautiful settings of our city’s rose garden.  Several high schools of the unified school district had their graduation ceremony one after the other. As one school departed the venue, next school came in to celebrate.  Looking into the enthusiastic faces of hundreds of those young kids, I was reminded of our high school graduations.  Nothing could be as further from the scene I was witnessing.  In our school systems ten thousands miles away, we had to wait for months after the examinations were over agonising when the results would come out that could make or mar the life of a student.  Here majority of the students know, by the time they are being awarded the diploma, where they will be going in fall.  Though the day was joyous, the pain of leaving their friends were writ large on the faces of many of the students.  Many students had spent last twelve years of their life together, from elementary through middle school to high school. Now they are ready to part company, many moving thousands of miles away to other part of the country to attend colleges and universities in different part of the country.  Such is the way of life.  The wheel of life keeps on rolling relentlessly.  It does not stop for anything or anybody.  Slow and steady march continues till it meets its ultimate goal.

The wheel of my fifty two weeks journey is also slowly rolling forward, with highs and lows and bumps on the road.  The journey that started enthusiastically, has slowed down to a grind.  As the wheel of life turns, I am determined to see this journey through.  So for today’s poem starting with the letter “W” , I am choosing the word “Wheel”.  Now, off to writing the poem before the bell strikes twelve and my fairy godmother turns me to a walking dead.

This post is in response to Write Anything Wednesday-June-1-2016 sponsored by Writerish Ramblings


Not even the dead will be safe from the enemy, if he is victorious. And this enemy has not ceased to be victorious.- Walter Benjamin


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