This poem has been submitted by Aratrika Choudhuri for the CLATGyan Blog Post Writing Competition. If you think this article is a good read, ‘Like’ this article on Facebook (the button is at the bottom of this piece) or post a comment using the ‘comments’ section below.
It was a boy.
The doctor caressed the cherubic toes,
The nurses squealed in delight.
His eyes were luminous,
Like dark pools of secrets never told before.
She drew him closer and whispered,
“I do not have time, my boy.
I’m going where you came from-
But remember that your soul is invincible
And my love for you, eternal.”
The pulse dropped, all efforts were futile
The baby grew up, without knowing
The joys of a mother’s embrace,
The solace of a fountain of affection.
He grew up in a dystopian world,
A world where fathers wasted away
In the oddities of alcohol;
Lacked vitality and directed vehemence
Towards the formless clay of his character.
He wasn’t alone: Destiny had been bleak for many like him
Yet he chose to delay gratification-
Indulged in a piece of bread, soaked in cold milk,
And toiled harder.
Day in and day out, the abuse grew worse
Mocking cynicism proclaimed him to be a born loser
Yet he persevered, walking the path less travelled
Never for a minute wavering in his determination.
He gained the fancy degrees magna cum laude,
He grasped every opportunity,
Scavenging for the diamonds in the sand.
Every moment of his existence, he breathed a dream;
A dream that demanded he “force his heart and nerve and sinew
To serve their turn long after they were gone
And so hold on when there was nothing left in him
Except for the Will which said ‘Hold On!’ ”
His furious dedication frightened the skeptics,
They strove to create insurmountable odds,
The lamented about the chaotic world,
But couched it into the Romanticism of the unpredictability of the world order
And impeded anyone who contradicted them,
Who dared to illuminate the way.
He toiled with rugged tenacity,
To build an organization that advocated equality.
But he didn’t realize the ignominy of their hypocrisy-
He had trusted the wolf beneath the sheepskin.
So they gave him the stones, the wood, the cement and the steel,
To build his dream,
Letting him burn the midnight oil
To reach the pinnacle of his endeavor.
Yet, when he walked the extra mile,
Suddenly, there was a deafening cacophony-
The Building of his Dream had collapsed.
Then came the crushing void, the vacancy too loud,
He was written off as the laughing stock
Of a millennium that sympathizes with idle conversationalists,
Who express need, but crave the illusion
Of a utopia propagated by the bureaucrats of fine luxuries.
He was crushed, defeated and trampled upon,
He found no desire to go on.
Off he went into oblivion,
Sinking into an abyss of irredeemable hopelessness.
On one ordinary day as he wallowed in self-pity,
He watched an ant. Oh yes, an ant!
It struggled to pick up a Goliath-like sugar cube.
He sneered at its attempt,
He had perhaps become too disillusioned
To realize that he was now one of Them.
But something deep in the well of his heart stirred,
When the ant smartly marched off with its load
Relentlessly traversing its course to its destination.
He laughed, oh how he laughed!
And now he beckoned,
Toiled and broke his spell of gloom,
Stood in the eye of the storm,
Resigned the lashing waves of grief with indomitable grit,
And endless journeying for recreating his dream,
Brick by Brick.
He now realized, ‘mountaintops inspire leaders, but valleys mature them’
This time, he bled, but refused help.
He became the child of a Day that knows no end
And a Night no beginning,
Consumed by an all-encompassing passion for his dear Building.
Sleep was a long forgotten dream
Food immaterial, only breathing his dream.
The skeptics watched wide-eyed
As he laid the Foundation of Honesty, and raised his edifice as
An Ode to Humanity.
He made the glass, crafted the wood,
Hammered in the last nail-
He was branded insane.
But nothing else mattered to him anymore-
He wished away the delusional grandeur of empty words
And built his building up and up
A skyscraper that towered above the rest.
It was built out of the defining fire that transforms talent into ability-
Discipline: that taught him to struggle
Against Dejection and Abandonment;
To shape the world according to his ideas
And the insurmountable odds were conquered.
The irreplaceable spark in him burned brighter,
When the masterpiece was unveiled
With the flourish of a thousand Milky Ways.
Now he earned the sobriquet of a winner,
A born winner, mind you.
Appreciation poured in with fierce velocity
His portraits were put up in schools and hospitals.
But the day his work was done, he vanished.
Everyone wondered where he could have gone.
Some said he was too exhausted,
Some said it was a conspiracy to deceive the world.
I believe he left the world behind to follow the footsteps of his soul,
Stood under a million stars and laughed again,
For the breeze brought him memories
Of Eternal love of a mother he never knew
And the perseverance of an ant.
He was then enlightened-
Yes, he was lonely in the age of lawlessness,
But not alone.
A seventeen-year-old law school aspirant, Mumbai’s Aratrika Choudhury is an inherently creative person. Ruminating over Kafka and Dostoyevsky, parasailing, capturing on the canvas little pieces of the green heaven she lives in and soliloquizing on how it would be more aesthetically appealing to murder someone in winter than in summer are a few of her favourite pastimes.