Eternal Wait

A nearly deserted lane

A barber shop in the shanty

Of that lane

Young barber is on the edge of his shop

He reads a newspaper

We don’t know if he is reading

We also don’t know if the paper is recent

Or even upside down

Like a hawk, his eyes dart left to right

Then right to left, swiftly

And then rest back on the news paper

He is not reading the paper

He can’t be

He is merely there

On the edge of his shop

On the edge of his life

On the edge

He is waiting

Waiting for an elusive customer

To come in

And stare at the mirror casually

Move his fingers through his thick growth

And… ask for a haircut

Or a shave, at least

Barber does not budge

He is like a tiger in the wild

He has to shave someone

Shave off a few rupees from someone

He lowers the newspaper a bit

To search for someone scratching his beard

Or a hero looking boy with long hair

Soon he has to spot such a kill

Who might occupy his empty chair

And he knows it best

Waiting is not easy

He wipes the mirror

Dusts the chair

Then goes back to the hunting point

He is tense

His body is getting tight

Worst of all he is helpless

At the back of the shop

Hangs a brown, grimy gunny bag curtain

On the other side of gunny bag curtain

A female skeleton is leaning on a frail wall

Little girl is scribbling on a note book

Her school fees has to be paid

A baby is squirming in skeleton’s lap

He cries suckling the hanging breast

Utensils are empty

Stove is cold

Life is on hold

On both sides of the brown, grimy, sad,

Gunny bag curtain

Barber fakes reading newspaper

Friendship with conditions

Heart is a bit heavy today

It’s… because of the things around,

Perhaps

Is it because of the house?

It’s discolored walls,

Cracks and leaks

… I can handle all that with money

But it is the people,

People, close and distant

Matured and grown ups

It is high time it was decided

A delay can cause unnecessary trouble

The trouble could grow

Grow into a demon beyond control

The point is not how many

And for how long the troubles have been

The point also is ‘why’ have I been tolerating them?

You think whatever you say, has a meaning

And my words make no sense?

Then we don’t belong to each other

If you feel you are in a jail

I too am choking to death

Like you are proud of the way you think

I too might have respect for my thoughts

You wish to insult me?

Go ahead and insult my looks,

My shabby sloppiness

But don’t insult my ideas

No one is permitted to do that

I love my way of thinking

Just like you do

My thoughts are also unique in the world

Just like yours

They are precious

They are pretty

They are full of intelligence

They don’t lack anything

Just like yours

No one has a right to look down upon them

To insult them

They are products of my mind

They are pious for me

Just like God is for everyone

This will be a hard decision

But showing respect for my thoughts,

Will be mandatory for my friendship

If you say,

What is I say is, ‘wrong’

Then let us not waste time

I will turn left from next cross road

You take the right

And then be right, forever