Martyr
Representational Image

Martyr

January 4, 2024

Watching from window rails to

The near blackness

Of another 'blackout' call, on

A feeble moon night.

Switched off, all streetlights, all

Lights in homes loyally missing.

My heart drummed upon the cold

Rails pressed on it.

I, just sixteen, felt the stage

set for a scene. Inside

Asha Bhosle executed Raat Baaqi

On my speakers at low volume.

A sudden stunning flash of headlights,

Blinded by my eyes,

Smashed next by random stones hurled--

The boofs of the bursts, restoring

The near blackness.

That was it. Well done for a show.

...

Creaks and more creaks

Of police boots on gravel

Heard closer and closer,

Shifting to some whacks and whips

Mixed with a perfect wail piercing through

The romantic winter air.

Instinctively I turned off the song

To a nightly silence.

In the dim light

A black figure lay on the ground

Sprang and crawled

Sprang and crawled

by our gate,

As tears carelessly ran down my cheeks.

 

[Black Out: A call to extinguish all lights as a form of protest]

(The poem 'Martyr' is written in the remembrance of a young student during a state agitation, 1982)

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