Our Boys No Longer Loll Under Our Pakur Tree

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who are in charge of the destiny of our boys?

nobody, they make their own destiny

when I get a job my worries for tomorrows’ dal and rice gone

and I manage time to ponder over my boys

initially I’m pained to see them lolling under our pakur tree

dawn, noon, afternoon, evening the same boys, the same talks

then one day I buy a house in town and leave my village

and my visits to my village become irregular—

a day in a month, a day in a half year, a day in a year.

a decade passed, and today I find our pakur tree

empty as a nameless river bed crematorium  .

where are the boys I ask myself and some old faces?

and I am delighted with their inputs

my boys are school dropouts and undergraduates

their parents are poor peasants or landless labours

and believe me I have no clues about their future

but today I’m happy to survey the scene

my boys have outsmarted me, made me fool

some are black hands at mushrooming garages

by both sides of our dusty, crooked lifeline

some are masons in Kerala and Bengaluru

some are half-mechanics in Ludhiana motor rewinding factories

some are local panchayat members, and have built

spotless white houses, gates etched with holy signs

some have joined army, the lesser ones keeping pigeons,

cows, hens, goats, ducks, sheep

some sell daily toil to landed hands

some sell vegetables in vans, fish and milk in cycles,

and clothes and plastics in cars from door to door

some have set up grocery shops, shoe stores, mobile corners

some are working in brick clines, some driving cars and

some own battery cars and defeat empty stomachs

some are mullahs at mosques, priests at temples

some are party full timers and have earned ways

to make peasants sit and stand by catching their ears

some are electricians, plumbers, carpenters, driers, company agents

selling agricultural, cosmetic products to customized clients

some in winter spell sell blankets, in hot days sell fans and coolers

in monsoon umbrellas and raincoats and gumboots.

parties come, parties go, and institutions dance with the winds

new faces replace the old ones, new names reinscribed on the walls

defeated flags bite dust or hide in fear or shame

the winners dazzle the highways, city streets and village paths.

our boys swim ashore crossing tumultuous tides,

some drown in the deep, but who cares?

the sun rises and dies, moon waxes and wanes, days and nights

pass with their cyclical lengths unperturbed.

our boys find OWN WAYS to breathe and survive,

Yes, some kicked in spines, knifed, shot, driven out of homes at election times

But those who manage to survive no longer loll under our pakur tree.

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Abu Siddik

Abu Siddik

It's all about the unsung , nameless men and women around us. I try to portray them through my tales. I praise their undying suffering and immaculate beauty. And their resilience to life's vicissitudes, oddities, and crudities I admire. They are my soulmates who inspire me to look beyond the visible, the known, the common facade of the educated and the intellectuals.

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