THE BROKEN POET (Satis Shroff)
I was the president of the Nepali Literary Society
And my realm was a small kingdom
Of readers and writers in the foothills of the Himalayas.
I came a long way,
Having started as an accountant of His Majesty’s government.
I was a brahmin and married a chettri woman,
Pretty as a Bollywood starlet.
It flattered my masculinity,
For she was a decade younger than I.
I took up writing late and managed to publish a few poems.
They said my verses were bad and received many reject slips.
By chance I ran into a gifted young man,
Who became my ghost writer.
When I was too busy doing business and juggling figures to suit my purpose,
He’d write wonderful verses and short-stories in my name.
My fame grew and in this small kingdom
I was highly decorated for my boundless creativity.
Books of verse appeared with my name.
My poems were recited at literary circles.
I became prolific and prominent.
Till my ghost-writer ran away with my young wife.
And there I was, an old, bruised, run-down old man.
Bedridden and waiting for Yamaraj to summon me,
To face the eternal destiny of life,
After a bout of liver cirrhosis.
The raksi, Gurkha rum and expensive Scotch
Got the better of me.
I kept a stiff upper-lip till the bitter end.
Bahun / Chettri: high caste Hindus in Nepal
Bollywood: India’s Hollywood, located in Bombay (Mumbai)
Yamaraj: God of Death in Hinduism
Raksi: high percentage alcohol sold in Nepal, Darjeeling, Sikkim, Bhutan
Gurkha: Soldier from Nepal