Na tha kuchh to khuda tha, When there was nothing there was God,
kuchch na hota to khuda hota, if there’d been nothing there’d have been God,
Duboya mujhko hone ne, Being has ruined me,
na hota main to kya hota? if I did not exist what would have been?
Months of journeyon bullock-cart, palki, boat
tonga, ekka and whatnotDelhi, Kanpur, Lucknow,
Allahabad, Banaras, Banda,Patna, Murshidabad,
finally Calcutta, then endless wait
‘double my paltry pension of rupees sixty two’
I returned to Shahjahanabad scorned, derided
my family debt-riddenmy dignity robbed
my brother died in my armsnone of my sons survived I turned into a stone wrapped in human skin
then came the worstthe massacre of Delhi my friends were butchered
I alone survivedto take down their corpses hanging from the trees, the lamp-posts
to usher them into their gravesto lament my destiny.
~ Abhay K.
Abhay K. (Abhay Kumar) is an Indian poet. Winner of the SAARC Literary Award 2013, he is the author of five collections of poems and two memoirs. His forthcoming collection of poems ‘Seduction of Delhi’ has received widespread critical acclaim.