TODAY -

I wonder

Wangam Thokchom *




I wonder what name they'll give you.
The Iron Lady just doesn't do it for me you see.
That has already been claimed
By the sarong-wearing Oxford-educated Lady further east.
I wouldn't want them to give Rani too
We already have another.
Can't have two now; you being, regretfully, Meitei
And all that entails; enough tension as it is.
How about the Mother of the Nation,
Various comparisons with the Father
I wouldn't be surprised if they did.

I wonder what food will taste like.
I wonder how much salt we need
A pinch, a handful, a packet, a bag
An entire ocean-worth?
I wonder how the trains are in South Africa
I wonder how far Jiribam is from Imphal.

I wonder what business model they'll think of next
You don't even have a general for a father.
Sixteen years gone, just like that.
Tell me something, at the start,
Did anyone ever force you?
Did they point a gun at you?
Were you ever threatened?

Do you see my dilemma?
My people, my land it gets very murky.
I am forced, always, to choose.
It's you now.
It will be something else tomorrow, as it always has been.
I hear of threats being made. Now.
I wonder was the nose-pipe your best shield?

I thought this was about making a statement.
Not of proving the merit and worth of something else.
It has failed don't you see?
this Tryst with Destiny.
At the stroke of midnight, when we were asleep
They sent in troops and trucks.

I don't know, maybe you are right.
I just can't see it
I never feel it.
Whether it be the immigration desk
Or the guards at the gates of JNU
Shopkeepers at Sarojini
Landlords at Vijaynagar
Or auto-wallahs anywhere
I am constantly marked out, you see.

Do you see my dilemma?
Once we sung,
Proud daughter of Mother India, guarding her eastern flank.
What fools they were, my people, my land
Descendants of Arjuna and Chitraganda,
Made blind, starved to madness, made the servilest of all
Send your sons and daughters o be IAS officers
Vote for the Mother of the Nation
Accept what is fed to you.

I wonder what they'll call all of us.






* Poem written by Wangam Thokchom for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at wangamth(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
This poem was webcasted on August 11 2016.


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