The writer from anywhere and everywhere when ponders on the question ' who am I?',receives some response in a lyric by the Assamese singer Bhupen Hazarika ....
" Ami ek jajabor' ( I am a gypsy ...)
Some of the writings including poems appeared in dissidentvoice.org, Leaves of Ink, Tuck Magazine, Virasam, Velivada, countercurrents.org, counterview.org, counterview.net, sabrangindia.in , etc.
The endless wait ...
Sun has set long ago ...
He walked home tired of his work all day long
Night has spread all over the sky like a large cobra snake
The darkness set in his life long ago when his wife fell ill due to her hours of exhaustion working in a factory. After a prolonged treatment in a government hospital, did she recover .
Those days are over .
Now, she is in the hospital for different cause. After reaching home, he set out to see her along with some clothes, food and money. He remembered a colleague touching him gently and say ," Don't worry ! This time, it will be a baby boy". These words soothed his mind as he briskly walked the long distance.
The hospital filled with poor patients moaning and groaning and the doctors and nurses jostling each other muttering curses. Too many patients and too few doctors and nurses to look after , someone whispered in the crowd. But no one replied or atleast affirmed the statement.
He slowly went to the place where his wife lay. Beds were unavailable and she was forced to lie down. She wailed with pain and yelled for the doctor to come and see her. He went near her and gently touched her hand. "Please call the doctor!" She pleaded him. He quietly glanced all sides and found every doctor and nurse busy.
He mustered courage somehow and asked the nurse," please check my wife once". She angrily retorted, "I know". He persisted ,"she is in pain". "I told you I know ! I'll see her when the time comes" and she left him .
He dejectedly sat beside her and with a gentle touch said, "they're coming soon to see you". He opened the food pack and gave her some rice and pickle to eat. She tried to gulp some but couldn't bear the bitterness. "Get me some water to drink . This is enough. You eat the rest". Her words came out thru gasps. He quickly went to the tap and filled a bottle with water and ran to her. She drank the water and continued her moan as pain increased.
He closed the food pack with the left overs and passed it on to a boy near the room begging for food.
By this time, he was accustomed to see her writhing in pain. It was late in the night when he saw the same nurse who angrily replied to him. He pleaded her again.."Please....". She stopped in her strides and looked at him and his wife suffering from pain.
"It is getting late .... Why didn't you tell me much earlier ?" She walked to other nurses and began to arrange stretcher to take her inside the labor room.
"She might need a caesarian surgery... Keep money ready". She muttered and walked away along with his wife on the stretcher .
He counted his meagre notes and sat outside thinking of taking loan from his co-workers the next morning. He thought of the life ahead and inadvertantly shuddered to think of the responsibilities in future.
The night was passing and dawn is waiting to arrive. He was lost in thought when the nurse came out shouting at him ", Lakshmi is born! Come and see your daughter and wife!" . He was at first startled but gathered himself and went into the room . His wife was still in some pain but happy though she had surgery minutes before. She saw him and , for a moment, thought he might be unhappy to see the girl child.
Instead, he caressed her and the baby. "She is Saraswathi !" He told her ,"I'll give her all possible assistance for education. She shouldn't suffer like you and me". Meanwhile, the nurse came to their side:" how is Lakshmi?" She smiled and expectantly thrust her hand for some tip. "No! The baby is Saraswati! The god of education. Lakshmi , the god of wealth comes only if you are well educated ". He said looking at her and the protruding hand. He carefully took out a pittance without her noticing the amount he had and gave her. She took it reluctantly . Her smile was gone. "You have given very little saab! " She quickly walked away.
He peeped out and saw the first rays of sun.
His long wait along with his wife ended and now another wait is beginning. The baby has already had spent some hours on earth. It has to grow and learn a lot in this world. Still there's lot more to do, he thought. He had to pay the bills and get the remaining money by the end of the day.
He bade his wife good bye and kissed his small black baby. A doctor came to the bedside, "she's weak. Malnutrition! Give her good food so that the baby has sufficient milk and your wife healthy!" He moved to another bed without waiting for an answer.
He went to the counter and paid the money left with him. "What about the remaining?" The accountant asked. I'll pay the rest this evening. My wife will be still in the hospital. She had surgery" he replied and walked away.
Another day of waiting began.