The Castle of his Dreams

His castle was strong and tall
With note-bundles for bricks
And coins for design.
Not a grain of sand could leave or enter,
Leave aside a man, inside.

The castle
Made over half his life
Cast a dark shadow
Over the slum beneath
Against the unbiased sun-rays.

It was his pride, his love
It was all that he ever wanted-
To be able to stand on the roof
And look at the minuscule world below him.

But, the castle, now built,
How must he engage himself, now?
His shoes thump to and fro,
His face sunken low
Pondering, even what to ponder about

The walls were silent
The halls were magnificently empty
So he went to the high roof and called out
Oh! How condescending!
But his screams wouldn’t reach the lowly ears.

Days, weeks and months past
His mind, now blank
His hands drum away on the walls
Pointlessly, frustratedly.
He can’t even jump off the roof,
For if he dies,
His castle, he’ll lose.

So he would sit on the roof, all day long
And look at the minuscule world below,
Moving about their lives
Smiling and talking.
They had no castle
Just a broken shanty,
But were still, oddly, happy.

(originally published in Yamuna- The annual SRCC magazine)

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