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Childhood and nonsense go together!

Udai’s reading a book of nonsense verse, and he is sort of addicted to it right now. He heard Michael Heyman, the editor of this specific compilation, speak at the Bookaroo. When I say speak, I mean perform. He was there, guitar in hand, soft voice and expressions full on, converting young impressionable children, recruiting them to the cause of nonsense!

When we were in school, I was just as enamored by the absolutely hilarious poetry of Nissim Ezekiel. When I read it today, of course, I see sharply its political context and the enormous influence that Indira Gandhi and the Congress legacy had on creative people of that time. Sample this:

The Patriot

I am standing for peace and non-violence.
Why world is fighting fighting
Why all people of world
Are not following Mahatma Gandhi,
I am simply not understanding.
Ancient Indian Wisdom is 100% correct,
I should say even 200% correct,
But modern generation is neglecting –
Too much going for fashion and foreign thing.
Other day I’m reading newspaper
(Every day I’m reading Times of India
To improve my English Language)
How one goonda fellow
Threw stone at Indirabehn.
Must be student unrest fellow, I am thinking.
Friends, Romans, Countrymen, I am saying (to myself)
Lend me the ears.
Everything is coming –
Regeneration, Remuneration, Contraception.
Be patiently, brothers and sisters.
You want one glass lassi?
Very good for digestion.
With little salt, lovely drink,
Better than wine;
Not that I am ever tasting the wine.
I’m the total teetotaller, completely total,
But I say
Wine is for the drunkards only.
What you think of prospects of world peace?
Pakistan behaving like this,
China behaving like that,
It is making me really sad, I am telling you.
Really, most harassing me.
All men are brothers, no?
In India also
Gujaratis, Maharashtrians, Hindiwallahs
All brothers –
Though some are having funny habits.
Still, you tolerate me,
I tolerate you,
One day Ram Rajya is surely coming.
You are going?
But you will visit again
Any time, any day,
I am not believing in ceremony
Always I am enjoying your company.

Another poem titled ‘The Professor’ is entertaining as well, in the same style, passing sharp commentary on his times in a humorous way. Then there was a poem about a nose that got up and ran away. For the life of me, I cannot remember the poet nor the entire poem. Nor is google-baba being of any help at all. If any of my Loreto friends (it was in that little book of poems we used) or anyone who studied ICSE in 1990-92 remembers this, please please let me know….

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