Unwaiting for Godot

unw-godot-smDisquieted and quietened we stand, the pair of us at the brink of the Internet, conjoined and disjointed at the splice of consciousness and a unique resource locator. Beguiled enough to have waited for ages, we have figured it’s time to unwait for Godot.

For many months now, I have woven ghazals out of the cobwebs clinging to the atria and ventricals of my mesolithic bosom. For many months then, I have hoped it will pass for signs of being alive and in company of a sensate soul. It has been part of the waiting game nevertheless, this masquerade of writing weblogs, and the mirage of grandeur in a non-existent horizon.

Universe churns and swells, pulled in and apart by matters dark and darkness that matters. It is said the visible light is but a shadow of the fathomless blackness of the unknown beyond. It is believed the hypersonic ambitions of generals will hit us before we can even spell ‘missile’. There is a one in a zillion chance that life as we know it exists elsewhere. And there is a one in a zillion chance that these barbarians will let life as we know it exist anywhere. Such is the smallness of our gravity. Such is the gravity of our insignificance.

The state has taken the skin off the paltry backside of the middle class to cobble shoes for legions of poor. Who was it that said only the wearer knows where the shoes pinches, for these shoes will return to pinch the exposed flesh of the onetime masters of the tissues, such is the scourge of the have-nots. And such is the naked lust of the mafia, aka politicians, that they will reward even plague and pestilence if they could plod to a polling booth. Sedulous, sensible creatures are expendables of an entrenched democracy.

Having interacted with three generations of my family at some point or other, I am inclined to believe the progression from a bicycle to the aisle of an aeroplane is a protracted process. My predecessors were ever willing to rake the farm and tend to the cattle under baking suns and bone-chilling nights while the women laboured at hand-pulled millstones so that the bread could be served to the family. My father rose through the ranks in railways and slogged in its trains and offices. Perhaps, I may be forgiven for the belief that no poor was harmed in the process.

It is inherent in the opera of destiny to be not musical to all. But riches don’t tumble upon a man overnight in a cloudburst of sorts. If the poor can’t rise over the heap of deprivation, lack of infrastructure and employment are the linchpins of that glass ceiling. Poverty and procreation are inseparable twins that feed and perpetuate the vicious circle. The solution lies in addressing the phenomenon rather than offering stepladders of doles. However, a burgeoning headcount is a blessing to the ravenous politician, and the lure to seduce the vote banks with freebies is proving to irresistible to most.

A natural corollary then is a bazaar of free lunches where hard work is the highest priced dish. Quaintly, you will still come across folks to whom hard work is the rule rather than option, and these very people have become the impure elements of the society who must be purged with excoriating cesses and levies. It is a thinly disguised Cultural Revolution with similar ulterior motives. Methodical murder of talent and intelligence has relegated us to the base of developmental totem pole for which there will be an unbearable price to pay.

You wonder where is this unceremonious rant leading me and my gramophone to? I wish I could depose in a coherent manner but I and these chronicles seem to be falling apart. So instead of loitering and waiting for a miracle to happen, I will wander off with nary a frown on my forehead:

The year’s at the beginning,
And night’s at the rise;
The clock is in mid-strike;
The notebook is in flight;
The keyboard is pearly-eyed;
Forget the gnarly old tree;
The Blog is at its URL—
All’s right with the readers.

(With apologies to Robert Browning, and my patrons)

Image Credit: Miti


  1. Lots of ideas here for someone who is no longer waiting for death. Loved that play, BTW and your prose! Live life large, my friend for Godot comes more quickly than any of us cares to consider!

  2. Well – you are the opera singer – where the hero in his death throes sings the most beautiful aria (with the jewell-studded sword still protruding from his breast). Unwaiting for Godot just might be the biggest creative step taken for a long time. One of my favourite folk tales is of a witch who captured a beautiful princess and locked her in a restrictive room. She threatened the princess: “You must never let the log fire go out or nasty things will happen.” For years the princess dutifully stoked the fire, unaware that if she let the fire go out it would be her means of escape. All the best, Uma, for what is to come and thanks for being a good friend. I will stay in touch.

  3. Well, the sword is still there, but the aria would not have been possible without the love of my friends. I have been beset with myriad woes these past years, and have kept stoking the fire unwittingly. The folk tale has given me a clue, and it also reminds me how dearly I miss your stories, and the meetings at your blog. Thank you for that promise —I will cherish it forever. Tell me you are writing those books like the winds of Spring.

        1. Two things – it may be considered a “translation” but no poem-translation works unless the translator is a poet. And secondly, … now I’ve forgotten what the hell I was going to say… anyway – here’s something else: you make me feel small, inarticulate, a dumb-arse, a stupid-fucker, an idiot, an illiterate nincompoop etc etc (I mean all this as praise) I am so ill-read and behind. You’re an inspiration to me, Uma, and I can only marvel and aspire and strive. I’m not saying this to make you feel good, I’m saying it to let you know that you’ve done some good somewhere, if only in my little world! (And P.S. I don’t tolerate fools or pseudo-humility!)

          1. Bruce, you are a reference point to me for lucidity of the language, and how a character could be fleshed in a brief paragraph. Something seems to have put you in the disposition of my favourite character Captain Archibald Haddock, except that he is as much a story as you are real. Interestingly, he also doesn’t tolerate fools and pseudo-humility.

            Thanks for lighting up the night, my friend!

  4. “The state has taken the skin off the paltry backside of the middle class to cobble shoes for legions of poor.”

    Of course after yesterday’s yet another jolt to the ‘we’ the middle class your line will haunt for eons.

    There is a section, irrespective of the ideologies they subscribe, subscribe to the mantra – vote ke liye saala kuchh bhi karega. There is another section whose mantra is give me free stuff and I will give you power to rule for eternity. Meanwhile the watchers have no option not but to unwait for Godot and pay, as long as the marriage of convenience between the two groups last.

    Each line of this poetic composition is worth engraving to withstand all the storms to come.

    1. You have paraphrased the relevant sections aptly. We have had typically incompetent and gluttonous bunch of politicians since ages but what we are witnessing now is institutionalization of corruption. Wherefore can this be called a democracy where the masses are being openly bribed to vote?

  5. I had marked out the same marvellous image as Durga: ‘The state has taken the skin off the paltry backside of the middle class to cobble shoes for legions of poor.’ This stands out among all the splendid imagery in this piece about return to creativity. I wish you well with it

    1. There’s a bonfire raging out there, and it’s mostly fuelled by middle class hearts. It is a violent imagery, as crude in its intent as the circumstances being alluded to. Perhaps the simplicity and fierceness of the expression have appealed to you greatly. Thanks for your kind wishes, Derrick.

  6. I suppose then, that it is up to us, to those like us, who value talent and intelligence, and being a good neighbor, and do not let them be completely wiped out.
    Thank you, Uma for much thought-provoking poetryprose. I will come back later for a second read.

    1. We seem to be running against both time and tide. Being good is apparently the last stop on the railroad of survival, although that shouldn’t stop the best among us from turning that into a destination. Thank you for your kind words.

  7. “The state has taken the skin off the paltry backside of the middle class to cobble shoes for legions of poor.”
    Like others this resonated with me too. A poetic turn of phrase but oh, how true it rings.

  8. Oh how I absolutely adored this rant. It reminds me more of a manifesto…the dance of the words so very DaDa. I’m left with a delightful melody in my mind. Long live the Opera of Destiny.

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