Cinema – Nikola Vaptsarov

There’s a crowd at the door
where the floodlit posters
proudly
announce:
“A human Drama.”
There’s a crowd at the door
and the King’s nickel horseman
sweats
in the pressure
of my pain.

On the square white screen
in the darkened hall
the Metro lion
sleepily yawns.
Suddenly a road
and a forest appear,
and above – the blue sky.
Expansive, clear.

Meeting at the bend
two sleek limousines
collide.
It’s our hero
and heroine.

Promptly the gentleman
leaves his car,
picks up the woman
in though steel arms.
Slowly she opens
eyes that smoulder,
flutters her lashes
and skyward stares.
O what a beautiful
thoroughbred mare!

Nightingales, sure enough,
sing in the trees
where the peaceful azure
filters down through the leaves,
and yonder
the soft green meadow
allures.

Lustfully greasy
John kisses Greta.
Lascivious lips
start slobbering…
STOP IT!
Where is our fate here?
Where is the drama?
Where am I? Tell me!
Ready to shoot, the explosive time
presses a gun against our spine.

In our love,
in our grief
can we be so naive
with our chests full of smoke
and our lungs T.B.?

Do we meet
those we love
in a sleek
limousine?
Our love arises
at work –
amid smoke,
amid soot
and machines.
Then comes the grey life,
the struggle for bread,
the vague dreams –
every night in the cheap narrow bed
we barely perceptibly weaken and die.

That’s how it is.
And there is the drama!
Everything else –
is a lie!

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Ruler vs Governor – Dera Sacha Sauda’s Travails of the Day

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Dera Sacha Sauda is filthy rich, has massive political influence and has got a tremendous popular following. In spite of that, it is on the brink of collapse due to a scandal, a scandal which is not at all potent enough to topple an empire. And it’s not as if the charges are unique. Cardinal Muller was recently removed from power as there is too much noise being made over the sex scandals in the Roman Catholic Church. So, what exactly is different here? Both the crimes are equally abhorrent. And, is it that easy to topple something such big? Or, is there a chink in Dera’s armour which is helping in it’s collapse?
Interestingly, there is another parallel in the world history, the lessons of which we are loathe to learn – the chaos in the Middle East. Let’s take two names two centuries apart – Mustafa Agha Barbar and Bashar al Assad. Both approximately did the same thing, according to their opponents – massacre a select set of people. Barbar, it’s Alawites and Assad, whomsoever it is. While Assad is struggling for his existence, Ottoman Empire of whom Barbar was a part of, never faced any existential threat because of Barbar’s actions. This lets us ask, in spite of the fact that Ottoman Empire faced rebellions after rebellions, why wasn’t anyone able to do anything to the Ottomans while it’s almost a cakewalk to take down Assad?
All four, Gurmeet Ram Rahim, Muller, Barbar and Assad are guilty. But, while Muller and Barbar are governors, GRR and Assad are the rulers. When there is a trouble, simply, replace the governor and make him personally accountable. The anger against the institution will be channelled towards the individual and the threat is staved off. But, what happens when the ruler is targeted? He is ready to bring down the institution with him, instead of accepting the reality. So, this raises another question – why is it that Hinduism is this decentralized while the Abrahamics are not? Is it a deliberate attempt to weaken the religion there by chipping off institution after institution? Or, may be, is it time for us to create a sort of central institution for Hinduism and bring every godman under this umbrella and then replace this ruler with a governor?

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History – Nikola Vaptsarov

History, will you mention us
In your faded scroll?
We worked in factories, offices –
Our names were not well known.

We worked in fields, smelled strongly
Of onions and sour bread.
Through thick moustaches angrily
We coursed the life we led.

Will you at least be grateful
We fattened you with news,
And slaked your thirst so richly
With the blood of slaughtered crowds?

You’ll lose the human focus
To view the panorama,
And no one will remember
The simple human drama.

The poets will be distracted
With pamphlets, progress rates;
Our unrecorded suffering
Will roam alone in space.

Was it a life worth nothing
A life worth digging up?
Unearthed, it reeks of poison,
Tastes bitter in the cup.

We were born along the hedgerows,
In the shelter of the stray thorns
Our mothers lay perspiring
Their dry lips tightly drawn.

We died like flies in autumn.
The women mourned the dead,
Turned their lament to singing –
But only the wild grass heard.

We who survived our brothers,
Sweated from every pore,
Took any job that offered,
Toiled as the oxen do.

At home our fathers taught us:
‘So shall it always be.’
But we scowled back and spat on
Their fool’s philosophy.

We kicked the table over,
Ran out of doors, and there
In the open felt the stirring
Of something bright and fair.

How anxiously we waited
In little-known cafes,
And turned in late at night
Of something bright and fair.

How we were soothed in hoping!·
But leaden skies pressed lower,
The scorching wind hissed viciously ·
Till we could stand no more!

Yet in your endless volumes
Beneath each letter and line
Our pain will leer forbiddingly
And rise a bitter cry.

For life, showing no mercy,
With heavy brutish paw
Battered our hungry faces.
That’s why our tongue is raw.

That’s why the poem I’m writing
In hours I steal from sleep,
Have not the grace of perfume,
But brief and scowling beat.

For the hardship and affliction
We do not seek rewards,
Nor do we want our pictures
In the calendar of years.

Just tell our story simply
To those we shall not see,
Tell those who will replace us –
We fought courageously.

Fascism: I sometimes fear… – Michael Rosen

An ever relevant one.

I sometimes fear that
people think that fascism arrives in fancy dress
worn by grotesques and monsters
as played out in endless re-runs of the Nazis.

Fascism arrives as your friend.
It will restore your honour,
make you feel proud,
protect your house,
give you a job,
clean up the neighbourhood,
remind you of how great you once were,
clear out the venal and the corrupt,
remove anything you feel is unlike you…

It doesn’t walk in saying,
“Our programme means militias, mass imprisonments, transportations, war and persecution.”