Burning the Midnight Oil

The old night watcher
Sleepily whistles,
He coughs and clears his throat,
And from a block,
A bright student burning
Midnight oil,
Competition too stiff,

Retired parents,
Under medical supervision,
Faces dry,
Before death, only wish they have,
Their only son gets a chance

Money they have none,
And connections they lack,
So, the bright student
Reads and reads,
The beard grows thickly over
His tender face,
And with fear-stricken eyes,
He watches his parents,
And passes the days

Friends, he has deserted,
And calls, he hardly responds,
Such a race before him,
And a chance comes once in a decade,
Phds wait to be peons
And sweepers, he best knows

He must have won,
If he slides,
He is done for another decade,
His hair will thin then,
And beards will grow grey

So, he burns the midnight oil,
And labours hard to shine before
His parents’ timid eyes

Sometimes, he thinks of a
Visit to an astrologer,
His office he knows,
Many of his mates
Visit him,
And none fails in life,
Such a miracle he holds

But he is from the science stream,
And not persuaded,
So, his dilly-dally,
Parents and friends persist,
But he denies the magic wand,
And burns the midnight oil

Eyes, dark, patched,
Speaks less and forgets to smile,
Relatives and neighbours he avoids,
And alone, he strives to win the race
From a city that holds throughout the year
Dog shows, flower exhibitions,
Endless processions, poetry carnivals!

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I write because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, said George Orwell. As a writer, I never kowtow to the whims and dictates of the sacred godmen or godwomen, the political bigots and hypocrites, dealers of laymen, the dishonest and self-serving intellectuals, traders of religions, the betrayers of ‘other’ Indians who eke out a living by their sweat, who are living in fear for being lynched for this and that.

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