I had not seen him,
Neither had I heard him,
I didn't know his kith nor kin.
But I knew that he had lived,
His house was in the street next to ours
Near that green square pond.
Emmanuel! That was his name,
That was all I knew of him.
The name always evokes in me,
Memories of a movie I like,
In which someone remarks
“Emmanuel means Son of the Virgin !”
Those were days of torrential rains
Not unusual in the month of June.
Incessant showers pouring heavy,
Lashing tides wearing away the shores,
Turbulent rivers gushing with rage
Brimming ponds with death traps hidden
Warnings enough for us to be cautious,
Water during monsoons can turn real dangerous !
But then, do we pay heed to the signs from nature
Or have we become too accustomed
Or is it that we are helpless at times
When life's toils drive us far?
On one of those days we heard from a neighbor
There was a boy whose name was Emmanuel,
Whose house was in the street next to ours,
But, by then he was no more in this world!
He was caught unawares,
By a precarious maze of aquatic weeds
In a pond where he used to swim in daily;
Not the one near us, but another one near his school.
A chill ran down my spine.
I had no clue who this little boy was,
The news threw me out of my mind
Pained, I asked myself:
Why does the monsoon in the height of its fury,
Take so many of our children away?
Those were days I was contemplating deep
About what was said about Lady Death
In yet another movie that I had watched
A pretentious one to my mind at least.
“Isn't she a lass so beautiful,
Sensuous as none ever before?”
The protagonist asked in a romantic tone,
Did he have a clue of what the reality was?
I could not help asking myself
To whose eyes was Death such a dainty?
Not to the boy who was just ten or twelve
When he was gasping in her strangling grasp,
Neither to those whom he left behind
Staring at their future that's bereft of him,
Not even to those like me
Who had known him never before,
Not to anyone who have had to encounter death
At least once in their lifetime from near or far!