Telegraph Calcutta

You can change, and you cannot


Ah. Now then. Tell me.


Are you White, or are you really Black, I cannot quite tell in this light.


Are you for real, or are you for real, I cannot quite tell in this light.

But tell me. Please.


Are you who we saw, or are you who we chose not to see, I cannot quite tell in this light. Ajnabi kaun ho tum?


What is this? The Met department’s free HelpLine, or what?


No, this KooHooo! KooHooo!! What is this? What nonsense is this? Are you announcing the Spring or the Summer or hellweather or What?


Unnnh. Jaaao! Enough.

Koyal ho kya? Koel? That treacherous bird with infinitely more treacherous ways? Aren’t you the one that lays eggs in crows’ nests so you won’t have to bother with all of that follows the laying of eggs? Poor crows, forever more sinned against than sinning. Poor crows that must caw-caw all their lives and nurture the koo-hooos. Is there justice? Anywhere?

Is there anything else you would do? Is there anything else you will say? I am asking you questions. I am expecting you to answer them. Is that too much to expect? Having been here so long with you? Having chosen to be here so long with you? On this high and precarious branch? On this shaky ledge that you seduced me to all those years ago with your call? AchchheDin! Come. Oh please do come. Here is where it is. AchchheDin. And so I was. I mean seduced. And so I came. I mean seduced. And is this it? Is this it? I even said some time ago, chalo, hota hai, not all promises are promises meant. And then I said to myself: all right, if not AchchheDin, at least AchchheSin. That’s its own fun. For those of you who would know. For those of you who are the Initiated. AchchheSin. Fun, isn’t it? Fun while it lasts. Always is. While it lasts. AchchheSin. But say naa. Please. Say those things one more time, those sweet nothings. Kaho naa… Kya hua tera vaadaa? Woh kasam woh iraadaa… etcetera etcetera. Am I sounding too much like a 33 rpm record? May I remind you there was once upon a time a 47 rpm as well? Baaaaaabul moraaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaa aaaaa aaaaaaa… naiharooooo chhuuuuutooooo hiiiii jaaaaaaaaye. There was once that too, 47 rpm. Jaaaane kahaaan mera jigaraa gayaa ji, abhi-abhi yaheen thha kidharaaa gaya ji. Shall we play that again? Shall we, even though I cannot call you Sam? Although, I have to say, Sham comes close. Pretty close. Ugly close. Shall we play it again, Sham? Woh shaam kuchh ajeeb thhi, yeh shaam bhi Ameen hai. Tu kal to pass-pass thha, tu aaj to bilkul fail hai.

There is still time. I am still here. On this precarious perch you seduced me to. With your baritone bullnoise. With your Vulgaris. With your Sharmanis. With your “Aasmaan se aaya farishtaa!…” And it became “Maar ka sabak sikhlaane.”

Why am I still here? Why at all? On this precarious perch? Answer me.


Hmmm. You have nothing to say, do you? You never did, you charlatan, you cheat.


Ah. Frightening me? Are you now?


Really? Frightening me?


Oh, is that it? Koel to Kine. Hmm. Turncoat. Cow in cuckoo clothing! Now we know. Kya miliye aisey logon sey, jinki fitrat chhupi rahey, Naqli chehra saamnay aaye, asli soorat chhupi rahey… So long.

I have wings, you know. I can fly. You know. I have. Choice. You know. I can leave you here. Alone. You know.

I’ve sat here long enough

Waiting that you would do

But it’s really been long enough

And all you’ve done is murder and moo!

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