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Mainstream, VOL LVIII No 32, New Delhi, July 25, 2020

MASK! | AK Das

Friday 24 July 2020

Boisterous, measured, hilarious, abrupt,
laughter alters in its flight over a face
bright, innocent, wrinkled, furrowed,
vivid in all its colours, shades, contours.
Now a mask has crept in, covering
from ear to ear nose, lips underneath,
reducing laughter to a smile reflected
by a pair of moving, floating eyeballs.
The mask conceals expressions from a face,
making it slippery to read if the smile
is fake or showing the real intent;
it drains the possible emotional reaction.
Human face itself is a mask; it pretends,
hides, also falls off, revealing the true self.
But the new mask is engraved on the face,
giving it an identify perhaps of anonymity,
Yet, this may be a temporary phenomenon.
The virus will be conquered, mask torn off.
The face will shine with friendly humanity,
even if the game of concealment stays on.

— A.K. Das, 6 July 2020

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