Kawa Akari

Before my son left for the city with his son
He built a house for me beside an old river.
A small dwelling, with resident only one,
Fast waves and winds made it quiver.

But most glorious was the Sun here
When it rose, you’d think it’ll never set;
Its resplendent rays spread devoid of fear
Happiness they created in whoever they met

From the river, the Sun came out to bloom
White waves glowed in the its yellow shine;
you’d say that this Sun would meet its doom
Only when its reflector would turn into brine.

But the world demands an end to every launch
And the Sun -it went down (with my wife Mary.)
I sit far from my cottage, the market, and the ranch
to witness the music of my last kawa akari.

In the gleam of the last light on river’s placid abdomen
I throw stones to create ripples; ripples turn into scenes
I see my life in those scenes, a life so very common –
It played like a forgotten movie, on the watery screens.

A little boy of 9, dragging his trunk out of the village
His parents are by his side but the faces are blurred now;
They walk on the sun-worn sand for an age
Along with them, is their pair of an ox and cow.

A primitive school where a student of 15 years
is being taught English alphabet by his master’s stick
At home, he finds his mother drowning in sad tears
His father was dead without even being sick

At 25, he manages to get all his sisters respectfully wed
In another three years, his mother convinces him too;
So he searches for that old crush who wore ribbons red,
her beautiful eyes turns his infatuation to love true.

Mary, is her name; ‘Mary, like a fairy’ he likes to say
They live with the harmony of a well tuned radio
He builds them a house in the hills, where his mother passes away
Soon Mary declares a new voice will be added to their stereo

A baby boy blesses their humble abode 7 months later
An honest cheerful kid and later a rebellious teenager
who refuses to accept modest living; he aims for greater.
Leaves home for University, an Economics major

He is their only child, the separation saddens them both
But they keep faith in their virtuous upbringing.
When the son explains that this is the price for growth
Little did they know, the world outside is changing.

They are in their early 50s, when their son returns back
With him he brings a plus one, a wife.
She walks on the wooden floor, her heels hit click-clack
Old parents accept her anyway in their molding life.

Mary succumbs to a disease he can’t even spell
He dies with her, but there’s no one around to care
His industrial son makes him a new place to dwell
The only source of life in the house, is the rocking chair.

He is 67, when he gets the ominous phone call
He puts it near his bad  ear, and only hears words
‘train derailment’, ‘accident’ and ‘no survivors at all’
There is only misery now in the song of birds.

On his last kawa akari, he sits near the radiating reflection
And he ponders, he wonders why he outlived them all
He tries to think what move of his was the wrong one –
Why had his destiny been written in a merciless scrawl

He tries to remember what happened to the ox and the cow;
Why he felt such sadness when he saw his people die
But he feels surprisingly numb when it’s his turn now
Perhaps because there wasn’t anyone around to cry.

(When the lights extinguished, when the sun finally set
Like old acquaintances, he and Death met
He greeted Death with open arms and a willing smile
Death congratulated him, for running right up till the last mile.)


[Featured Picture Courtesy: Tumblr]


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