June 28, 2011



It has been eight years.

You haven’t returned to the Oak-tree house.
You haven’t returned to the serene existence by the purple fire cackling in the fireplace.
You haven’t returned to the greetings of the conifers.
You have got lost.

Remember the night my parents fought so ugly that I wanted to run away to the kingdom to the East, the land of ‘National Happiness’ ? As they clawed at each other, and their respective dignities, I had to seek refuge under your coaxing and the endless efforts to cheer me up. As the grim night grew darker, Maria’s drums and your arms around me had kept me going. The very next morning, we went off. You, me and Maria, hitch-hiking towards what we thought was the East.Joaquin, remember the psychedelia brewing amidst the diminutive tea-stalls dotting the Himalyan highways? There was the rain, the songs, the terrace farms, and the rain-water channels, the Indian truck drivers, and their garish Hindee music. There was your guitar. The numerous odes to the days in the future, the way you would set everything right, for me. We were young, we had hope. We had mattresses housing mites and ticks, and makeshift beds made out of hours of dedication, strings of ropes, and wooden planks. And, we had the love. Insect-infested, optimistic, poverty-ridden, Sikkimese love.

Instead of going East, we ended up going West to Katmando Town. Natives we weren’t, Joaquin. I never even knew where your home was. Somewhere in the States, you had mentioned passively. You had told me to believe, and I had believed. Oak-tree house had become home. There was marijuana, there was money, there were midnight-treks, and Mandarin-Nazis. There was music, a lot of it. And the inflow of dollars, Joaquin. It was all for me, you said. Indeed it was. I had my poetry, my silence, and all the dollars. Maria had her drums, and we both had your company.

Your motherland then went to war with Iraq. We didn’t need to worry, you said. The invites started coming in. The ‘Prevent Civilian Casualties in the War on Terror’ music groups, that wanted you to represent our part of the World. The land of the calm, the Himalayas, was to be represented by you, Joaquin. You told me, it was art. It was no more about the money. It was about being human, you said. I knew your life was all about being human, Joey. Your humanity had saved me. How could I not let your humanity prevent the chaos in the Middle East? Of course, I hardly knew the gist of all the words you told me about World Politics, but I knew you were right.I let you leave, Joaquin. Not knowing there would be no more serenading at three in the morning. Not knowing that there would be no more breakfast by the conifers, painting the chimneys with the shades of our imagination, feeding the mountain-dogs in the evenings. I let you leave, never to see you again. I let you leave, to lose you to a stray attack by your motherland on the suspected terror-havens. They meant to slay the worshippers of terror, they said. They ended up blowing the worshippers of Art, to smithereens. They blew my heart, our world apart, Joaquin. Your land took you away from me.


It has been eight years.
It is the evening of the Katmando Night.
They shall celebrate you tonight.

Will you come to Katmando tonight?
Will you let me soothe my mind,
Touch your being with my weary sight?

Joaquin, come with me to Katmando town.
I shall revel one last time, in your voice’s sound.
Your hair jet black, the eyes almond-brown.
Joaquin, I want you in Katmando town.


Anonymous said...

Did you write this?

Ritwik Goswami said...

As it is being flaunted on my blog, the obvious answer is, YES. =P