Recently, two poets met after 40 years at Nizamuddin Station. I cannot say that they ran into each other because both of them were expecting this encounter. They were probably closest rivals of each other and they both wrote in English. One was brutally honest and the other was an empiricist. Beyond these ‘isms’ or moral constructs, they had an amazing ability to attack each other with poems. About 40 years ago, when the railway platforms were still under construction, the authorities blamed them for causing a riot inside the railway station. Their fans had clashed and they basked in their enmity. The authorities always blamed the poets for what happened at Nizamuddin station. But now, nobody knows them. They both found jobs with various communication wings of government and private enterprise and won awards for writing brutally honest and empirical poems. The empiricist is called Kabhina Kavi and the honest fellow is called Such in.
S: Pomposity never arrived in this station, like how it has now after 40 years.
KK: Hope you are being treated like a tramp. I have not read a single poem by you. I don’t even subscribe the magazines that carry your filth. You are pathetic.
S: This time you should at least be honest about your misdeeds. I know how you looked at that young student. Disgusting! You are filth. That doesn’t even need any personification.
KK: You are still bitter about so many things. Must be leading a horrible life.
S: We are wasting time because we do not have an audience now. Anyway this poem is what your epitaph would read like. I never imagined in my life because imagination, i thought, is unnecessary. I mean anything that needs imagination would engage the idea of absurdity and in that process, people like you miss the point of doing the things that you are supposed to do, mislead young one into believing that there is relevance in imagining things. With honesty, there is certainity. Certainty requires no imagination because certainity is build over the repetition of actions. Actions, even if they are planned, needs some work. Anyway, we have too many things here. But I could not conjure up anything more than this but what you will read to your children, if you decide to be honest like me:
I lied about the metaphors,
They were not mine,
I lied about imagining myself inside
It was my reflection.
I lied to you about light,
the faster this light travelled,
the darker it all seemed.
I lied to you about brilliance,
for such brightness could only kill
and you are not a bug.
I lied about the stars too,
I lied about the dark spots on the moon,
I lied that Earth as round,
look at everyone talking about this one plane of equity.
I lied to you about roses,
They were red because I chose
not many but just one.
I lied to you about beauty,
Covered up my greed and lust.
I lied to you about mountains,
and the bubbly streams,
They were only pools for people to drown,
I lied to you about you about my language,
I could have been twisting my tongue,
in the benign absence of mockery.
“My name is not on the crime records,
not even on the births register,
I must have avoided the census,
and probably never turned up for the class,
nor was I admitted to a hospital,
never owned a vehicle,
and never made it to the lists
of hopefuls or has-beens,
nor the most-wanteds and never-beens.
I was never insured,
nor my name,
and together we missed publishing game,
therefore not on the merit lists
nor on the reserved quotas,
I never made to the waiting lists,
and obviously missed the voting lists,
and my faith never listed me as a believer.
I am not a prisoner, even if it seems,
not an undertrial or a convict.
Unlike everyone else,
I was never on the guest list,
nor was I featured among the top-million rich.
And from the bottom,
my name was missing from the POW list,
or any other beings of war,
even those secretly fought,
nor I was in exile or that missing spy.
No! I was not on the list of state secrets,
nor on the list of mysterious creatures,
and never shared my berth with an yeti
or a certain grey alien, who’s now revered.
I might be endangered though,
but I was never protected to start with.
And I have no reason to feel insecure.”
Kabhina Kavi fell inside the gap between the railway platform and the train. Suchin, leaving all his imagination behind tries to pull him out. But Suchin looses his grip and both get mashed by the train. No one knew.