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Mainstream, VOL LVII No 28 New Delhi June 29, 2019

Reality and Fantasy

Sunday 30 June 2019

A family of five lives

in a small, dingy room

near the end of a blind alley.

The sunlight plays truant

from a slice of sky;

the air reeks of cow-dung,

filth from the gutter.

When night falls,

the old couple huddle

in one corner;

the daughter in another,

with vague dreams in her eyes,

burns the lamp;

the son and his wife retire

behind a hanging curtain

with all their desires in their arms.

A mansion near the sea

nestles up in the air

away from the polluting earth.

Floors are arrayed with rooms

for another blessed five:

sleeping, living, dining,

yoga, sauna, hall for ballerina.

The scenario alternates

between reality and fantasy:

one is harsh, close to soil,

the other bizarre, removed

from the plight of millions.

A.K. Das

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