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Mainstream, VOL LIV No 48 New Delhi November 19, 2016

Elusive Cliff

Monday 21 November 2016

It has been a stiff climb, chiselling steps
_ both by heart and charter;
_ yet the cliff still seems eluding.
 
Today, I see myself in a cage,
_ scrawled with a tattoo — a stigma to me,
_ not erased, but paraded by them
_ to use me as a pawn
_ in the murky game of numbers.
 
A meal shared, night halt at my hut
_ may generate a feeling of nearness;
_ yet it evaporates in the trail
_ of the departing motorcade.
 
Memorials built far away
_ intend to capture imagination,
_ but the sense of wonder reflects
_ not on life flowing on the ground.
 
That leaves me oscillating between
_ the two ends of the spectrum:
_ bridging the gap, hedging the boundary.
 
The part evolves within confines of rights;
_ the whole hesitates to offer its embrace.
_ And the divide stays put.
 
How long this cliff hanging, waiting
_ for the route allured by them!
_ Let me pledge to propel my flight
_ from the periphery of history
_ to the centre-stage all on my own.

          —A.K. Das