Her Boy

In the dawn lit dew fresh  garden

Latha swished her ekel broom,

at ease, with the world at peace –

her heart swelling  like

the ripening  grain in  yonder field,

with silent pride at her good fortune

which seemed to rise and flow

around her in a golden glow

with every  eddy and whorl of dust,

every stroke.


As she lit the lamp and  joss-sticks

And lay fragrant  stars of jasmine

At her altar to The Buddha,

her mind raced unbidden

to the manicured lawns and buildings

glittering in the sun at the Exalted Citadel –

The university! –  the sight of which

had struck her dumb with awe:

to leave him in such

a wondrous place – her boy!


Soon, in the Exalted Citadel,

the pitiless sun beat down upon

her boy,

as he, with  tears mingling with  sweat,

bleeding hands,  knees, and wheezing chest

with a knocking heart and broken spirit,

crawled across concreted floors

With his comrades in misfortune,

on all fours.


“He deserved it all!” thought  fond  Latha

memories of her boy flooding her mind:

Running home  from the village school,

Slippers flapping, rushing through the door,

throwing his  old bag  on the  floor!

Always first in class, poring over books

Muttering and wheezing

in the bottle-lamp’s flickering  glow,

how Latha watched

and laboured over him,

Only she would ever know.


The next morning in the citadel

They thrust his head into a pail

Which  first, they had filled  for him

With  urine and spittle,  to the brim.

Lurid commands, vile obscene gestures,

Exploding in his ears, screams of lunatic laughter

While the beasts, the so-called Seniors

ragged   and terrorized  the  Freshers

in sadistic  vicious pleasure.


And who were these beasts,  but

the inexplicably depraved sons and daughters

Of ordinary law-abiding people who

would invoke The Blessings

of The Triple Gem and all the gods

At every turn and juncture

in piety, and never knew

How such a  potent vicious brew

Came to surge and boil

In the blood of their