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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014
Of love, longing and failed husbands
Khushwant Singh
September 24, 2011
First Published: 22:47 IST(24/9/2011)
Last Updated: 22:49 IST(24/9/2011)

About two years ago I wrote about a collection of poems of Smita Agarwal of Allahabad. I was charmed by her style of writing poetry. It was irreverent, humourous and full of sarcasm.

I guessed she was the wife of a Judge of the High Court. A second collection of her poems has just been published in England. It will soon be available in Indian book stores. She calls it E-Book of Poems Mofussil Notebook Poems of small-town India. Reading it is sheer delight. I have picked one entitled: I Love you

Babli Pandey says "I love you…" to Bittu Sonkar.
The campus is agog…
A high-caste girl, Brahmin at that,
Wanting to wed a Backward boy…
Babli's brother, gets his act together.
He and hiss gang, with
Cycle-rickshaw chains
And crowbars, beat
The hell out of Bittu,
Who, for a month-lies festering
In the town's most
Infection-riddled zone,
The Govt. Medical College.
Miraculously, Sonkar survives,
And, but naturally, after full
And final recovery, collects
All the Backward caste warlords
Of every out-house locality
And seeks vengeance.
Siege-like conditions prevail
Around the university's SSL Hostel
Where Pandey and his chaps
Are holed-up…
Meanwhile, Babli, willingly
Abducted by the Sonkar Gang,
Under the banner of the progressive
Arya Samaj, marriages Bittu;
A scheme-from-a-movie like exchange
Of garlands in the presence
Of the liberal intellectual, Prof Das…
24x7, the mofussil town's single TV channel
Blazes footage of Babli weds Bittu.
For the bristling brother and his goons
Attention is for the time being
Relocated from Bittu to Dr. Das.
Next morning, Dr Das takes
And extra class on "Break, break, break…"
And discusses the forthcoming, Freshers Function
In room #8, where he shall encourage
Boys and girls of postgrad English
To dance to "Tera, tera, tera, suroor"
And "Beedi Jalaile"…
Exhortations over for the day
Dr Das leads the way
Down a flight of stairs
Where Birju Pandey
And his hoods waylay him…
Residual decency cannot make
Birju punch the don in his face.
So he pulls out a matchbox,
Strikes a match, waves the flaming
Stick, menacingly, three times,
Under the paralysed prof's nose
And growls "Last chance, saar…"
Prof Das clutches his heart and collapses,
The girls of the class let out a collective
Sequeal and beg forgiveness for his lapses…
Tension is temporarily dissipated.
Mofussil India's struggle
With modernity, abated.
The Babli Pandey, Bittu Sonkar
Saga, by these unforeseen
Circumstances aided and abetted,
Postponed for the next
Bright, new day…

Two things difficult to achieve in life:
1. To plant your idea in someone's head.

2. To plant someone's money in your own pocket.

- He who succeeds in the former, we call teacher.
- He who succeeds with the latter, we call boss
- The one who succeeds in both, we call wife.
- The one who fails in both, we call husband

Real Test
Dad: Hereafter don't call me Dad…

Kid: Oh, come on Dad, it was just a school test not the DNA test…!
(Contributed by Vipin Buckshey, Delhi)


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