A small farmer that he was,
a large grace that he had.
Outside the confines of his dusty village,
he seldom envisioned a world.
A world that was his village,
a village that was his soul.
A small family Ramchand had,
the smaller the sweeter they did say.
A charming spouse and a sweet kid,
is after all, what all yearn.
Half a decade since Munnu came into his world,
he knew life since prospered.
Lucky charm, believed he thus.
Sarayu meandered through his village,
its waters the life giving blood
for an otherwise parched village.
It was on her banks the Mela occurred,
the full moon week of Phagun.
Holi, the tyohaar of colours,
the Holi Mela was a celebration for the village.
Crowds thronged, from villages afar.
‘twas only this once a year his village
liberated herself from shackles of slumber.
Only once, she bathed herself sublime.
As a dozen months ago, it was Phagun,
And then, it was Phagun again.
All these four years Munnu was never taken,
mela was just a glorious fable for him.
Afraid of the crowd Ramchand was,
lest Munnu get lost.
He bought him candies and balloons,
but Munnu to Mela was a stubborn no.
Topped his class Munnu did.
What he wanted was no new bag,
no new slate,
but....a visit to the mela.
Reluctant was Ramchand,
stubborn was Munnu.
Tried to coax Munnu he did,
Munnu this time, didn’t seem yielding.
The “Haan” from Ramchand was muted,
but least cared Munnu,
as a “haan” was ever a “haan”
Friends, neighbours-Munnu beamed,
in front of everyone.
Was as if he dreamt a notch above heavens,
and the heavens bent downwards.
The day it dawned.
The night previous sleep kept afar,
still Munnu was as afresh a rosy petal.
They say a child smiles, a home beams.
A new attire, afresh expectations,
he charmed, he real did.
The afternoon sun resigned,
the evening sun took over,
and off were father and son.
Words of advices to be careful and strong grip on Ramchand’s hands,
but Munnu was in a world of his own.
Sarayu draped in a thousand colours,
her banks crowded with humanity.
The smile on Munnu’s face broadened seconds in,
Ramchand too was enjoying....at least it seemed so.
A lot of known faces, a lot of pleasantries,
he stole the show, Munnu did.
Pink blotched balloons were irresistible,
so Ramchand bought one before even being demanded.
“Five takas, so small a price for Munnu’s smile”
is all what the blessed father thought.
They roamed around,
candies, china balls, toys, odds and clutters,
the father didn’t seem in a mood to resist,
to an over-the-moon child.
Time flew, dusk setting in,
either were still in not in a mood to depart.
The sun into its shelter for the day,
the stars started mimicking Munnu.
Just then Munnu lost his grip on his balloon,
away it rose, and wind taking it westwards.
Tears welled up in Munnu’s eyes,
something Ramchand didn’t want to see.
First time thus, Ramchand slackened his fatherly grip,
told Munnu to stay put,
headed west he did, chasing the balloon,
chasing Munnu’s dream.
Run he did,
near half a mile did the balloon tease him,
until it surrendered, to the will of a father,
to the heart of a kid.
All smiles he returned,
to the spot he left little Munnu.
A pink balloon in hand,
and a picture of his kid running toward him.
Nowhere was Munnu to be seen !!!
The smile disappeared,
stars overhead went blight,
as Ramchand tore apart the world.
He searched, ghat to ghat,
quizzed multitude, if anyone saw little Munnu,
alas, he wished it all were a practical joke.
But the Gods weren’t joking,
all energy drained out,
in a frenzy was Ramchand,
his world had just gone dark.
Through the night he searched,
fatigue in him never did try overcome the father in him.
A pair of tireless legs,
the thrust of a stabbed heart,
all but proved hardly enough.
The stars set to bid farewell,
the sun making his daily debut,
the reality had dawned....way before dawn.
A heart broken soul sat on the banks of Sarayu,
it rather, was a soulless body.
His mind was rewinding,
as in a flashback, all the years went past,
but something indelible was Munnu.
Ramchand couldn’t go home,
thought he, “How can I break this news to her?”
Front of his eyes Sarayu meandered,
her banks were empty.
The village back to her annual aestivation,
only to awake, thought Ramchand,
the next Mela.
Sun’s rays started trickling in,
ensuing the morn spectacle,
the dazzle of sulight against Sarayu waters,
seemed way less charming to Ramchand than it ever did.
His visage betrayed his grief,
facial contours nowhere indicated a fuming mind.
Seemed the rising sun brought in fresh ideas,
A determined Ramchand, it looked.
Had made up his mind,
the sun a backdrop,
A west flowing Sarayu,
Ramchand knew he shouldn’t....but he couldn’t otherwise.
What he didn’t was that Munnu was picked,
by Ali Kaka their neighbour.
Spotted Munnu he did, standing alone in throng,
and escorted him home, a couple of candies on the way back.
An ever beaming Munnu was back home,
waiting to tell his father as he came back,
the story of those pebbles he pocketed from river bank.
Someone found a lifeless body a few miles downstream,
no one in neighbouring village knew Ramchand,
And hence none recognised Ramchand, lifeless.
Munnu still waited, a look of expectations,
a bundle of exciting stories,
his eyes ever fixed onto the dusty pavement in front,
through which he expected his father to spring up,