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Mainstream, VOL LV No 21 New Delhi May 13, 2017

Vanishing Trick

Sunday 14 May 2017

Where are the inebriated rats

who nine lac litres of liquor drank

Outsmarting the Inquisitor’s guarded cellar
in rollicking Epicurean prank?

Has anyone seen these pagan legions?

Are they in stupor sound

in shaded bunkers of Patliputra,

unsighted by the official hound?

Or are they dancing in the air,

invisible to the human eye?

will they fall in one fell swoop

and the tormentor’s throne occupy?

Who are these that shake a leg

dressed in khaki apparel?

Are these men that were the rats—

what a miracle to tell.

What sort of vintage must it be

that changes rats to uniformed fauj?

How may the Inquisitor arrest the rats

after such a clever nationalist dodge?

Badri Raina