By Saibal Debbarma

December 4, 2023

Couldn’t you have simply said, ‘NO’,

when they offered you the syringe foaming

with the ochre acid of rust eating into you,

when they gave you the blue pills of heaven

that nulled you into a breathing sponge,

when they made you sniff that white powder

that made you flush with false exuberance?

I understand the world was not fair to you.

All the forces of sin were pitted against you

and you were alone without help.

I understand you did not want to be born

into this world without a suitable exit plan,

and nothing went as you wished it to go.

But look at Ekalvya, an outcaste, a nobody,

though thwarted by stronger enemies’

fights to the end to make his place in the world.

You feared losing your pride among friends

if you did not sniff that, gulp this or push

the needle into your young body.

Your feared of losing a good time, a moment

of happiness and togetherness that is rarely got. Or

was there an unknown stirring in your heart

working its way into your sense of emptiness

that filled you with the torpor to ultimately fall

headlong towards the riveting maze of death?

Anyhow, your friends were not there

when wrapped in a spread of black tarpaulin

your once young flaming body now turned blue

was carried inside the ambulance by the police.

No one mourned you, the elders were relieved their sons

were spared the company of a 16-year-old like you.

Your sweetheart who has had a child by you confessed

to her parents and the child was dropped without pity.

Abhimanyu, only your mother wailed to the skies, clamouring

why oh, why did she have to bear such grief that made

the mountains crumble and the waves of the rivers rush back

for bearing you in her womb for ten long months

as her only young son?

Saibal Debbarma is Assistant Professor, Department of English, Government Degree College, Gondatwisa (Gandacherra), Dhalai District, Tripura.

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