Chance

Lying on the deck of a ship
Jam-packed with desperate dreamers
Bound for Malaya in 1933
 
You hoped to find your destiny
And the chance to break free
From your feudal inheritance
 
You decided it was time to go
You were only eighteen.You said:
”One is slightly mad at that age.”
 
You reached your port and sought
Assorted jobs for many years
Not knowing who you were
 
But enjoying the occasional
Midnight toddy-drinking sessions
With your friends, happily singing
 
Out of tune–
Always remembering to write
The weekly letter to your mother
 
Across the Bay
And then soon after, by chance,
The war broke out
 
And the soldiers
From the land of the rising sun
Arrived one day in 1941–
 
They cut off the grinning heads
Of Chinese”insurgents”
And stuck them on poles
 
Decorating every junction–
Death was everywhere
And you were there
 
And then by chance
They called for volunteers
To sign up for the INA
 
And since, as you put it,”I had
Nothing else to do,”you joined
Became an instructor and met
 
A.I.S. Dhara when you were down
With malaria–
But you survived the war.
 
When you returned in 1947
After your 14 years of exile
And took your cotton shirt off
 
In the bedroom of your ancestral home
By chance, you saw your adored mother
Standing at the doorway
 
With laughter in her eyes
Staring at your chest–
You wondered why and she smiled:
 
”You have a forest growing there.
Before you left for Malaya
There was only a barren desert.”
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About VijayNair

I retired as Associate Professor, Department of English, Government Victoria College Palakkad, Kerala. I taught English Language and Literature in various colleges for 31 years. My Ph.D. thesis was on the plays of Wole Soyinka. My collections of verse include "The City and the Hermitage" (1988), "Doors Swing Open" (2008), "Eyes" (2010) and "Whispers of Light in Darkness" (2013). My poems have also appeared in the International Anthologies "I am a Poet" (2013), "With Love" (2013), "Synthesis" (2014) "Poetic Symphonies" (2015) and "Heavenly Hymns" (2015).

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