His flute catches the sleeve of the wind
He shuts his eyes
Willing Raga Megh to drench his daughter’s cries.
His daughter, Shabnam, all of sixteen
Married to Sadar, the village money-lender,
Under a cheap zari-spangled tent
A month before his land would have been re-possessed;
While Sadar’s first wife, Seema, fed the guests
As sullen as the desert
And as barren.
A grey-streaked pig;
He clamps the shutters
Of his eyes tighter.
In a streak of sado-masochism
He suspends his fingers mid-air
Poised to thrust them in his ears
At the next feminine squeak.
Wait… what’s this…?
The cry is a grunt
Or has he heard it right?
He watches his son-in-law
Unspooling at the verandah
In a porcine heap;
A tattered translation
Of his strutting self;
The two women’s curses shaking the heavens
And their slippers beating to a rare taal…
He places the flute
To his lips
The wind makes the music sweeter…