who is that thief?

kaun thagwa nagariya lootal ho? 

chandan kaat ke banal khatola
ta par dulahin sootal ho

utho sakhi ri, maang sanwaaro
dulha mosay roothal ho

aaye yamraaj, palang chadhi baitha
nainan asuaan phootal ho

chaar jane mil khaat uthaayin
chahu dissi dhaun dhaun oothal ho

kahat kabir, suno bhai saadho
jag se naata chhootal ho..






who is that thug
who loots the town?

a cot made of wood
on it lies a bride

“friend, adorn my body,
my groom is annoyed,” she says

but there sits yama, awaiting her
and tears flow down her face

four men gather, lift her cot
smoke, smoke in all directions

listen seekers, says kabir
ties to the world shall drop away


Transience. That was the word he was looking for. Following in its heels came a feeling. Following the feeling, and taking attention away from it, came a chill on the neck and shoulders. Calm and tranquility prevailed. The eyes moistened. The plain truth was being said, and sung.

Life was passing by, at one second per second. The clutter around him – the computer, the empty cup of milk, the notebook with notes from the book he was addicted to, the piles of books on the bed, the e-mail from Rashna and Samuel that he awaited, his fears for the future – he wanted to shrink away from all this. Like the bride who desired to become one with her groom, he had been so deeply entangled with all these things. But now he wondered what they were worth. Wasn’t Yama sitting on his bed too, just a few feet away from those books of his? Would not soon, one day, those around him be carrying this body to its last resting place? What would all his pleasures and all his failures be worth then? A lifetime of fascination, contemplation, conflict, sorrow, all would drop away. A cosmic joke.

As if across five centuries, Kabir was bending down at him to make a point. In rustic, musical language; in simple metaphors; in the easiest of mannerisms, the absurdity of the life he was leading was being brought home to him. If this was absurd, what was normal? He did not know, but he knew the absurdity.

Kabir’s words also brought alive memories from childhood of those who came from his father’s hometown. Elderly baba spoke like this. So did the aunt with a famous sense of humour. He had never quite related to any of those people. He had always been withdrawn in his own world, and these people left only a superficial impression. Some were now dead. Others were dead to him, given the tempests of family life. Their loves, their hates; their successes and their failures, all had dissolved in the air. But the scent of Kabir’s poem was the scent of the earth from which those people came. They were coming alive again.

With a wry smile on his face he stared at the ceiling. A night of solitude, a night of stillness, a night of doubting his whole life, had just begun.

~ by tdcatss on October 27, 2014.

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