Jun 5, 2011

An unsung eulogy

As the mighty rain has settled in her town
Creel on head, she’s out without frown
The fish are fresh, and if streets are dry
She’ll sell them to every passer by

The catch is small as wave was fierce
and her rotten net needed repairs
But those young drooling eyes don’t realise
that waiting and hoping will never suffice

For she too waited, fancying it’s a sham
that tsunami to which she lost her man
But hunger and misery broke her trance
For survival, she seized another chance

Her growing kids, her ageing face
her placebo of memories, her totem of rage
the potent gaze of her weary eyes
that was real beauty, now I realise

But the minced words of that enchanting sorceress
Who worked for them in her cramped fortress
When heard were full of chagrin and fears
If her young ones could tell trickery from tears

She wept noiselessly and never complained
The living-for dead- should not be refrained
Happiness, though fatherless, was their right
So widowed & vowed, she remarried her plight

That woman utopian on a stage dystopian
Performing her role, banal & vaudevillian
That shapeshifting figure doing her duty
Is my human version of real beauty...


You just read an unexaggerated account of a young fisherwoman I met on Andaman Archipelago in 2008. Having never forgotten her face and her story, I decided it was time she gets her tribute. Brooding as I wrote this, I can still imagine her with her creel, looking around with those unforgettable eyes, just as when I asked her which way to taxi, and our conversation began.

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