THE SCHOOL MASTER

Travelling home a sunny afternoon

we stopped at the nearby village.

At the tea-stall, tea did not taste like tea;

even tea doesn’t survive in bad water.

We asked the Chaiwala,

if there was any Dawakhana, any Pathshala.

There was none, there were children,

loitering rather aimlessly, and a few Bekaars.

Their eyes said, don’t look at us like that,

we are not Bekaars.

My companion said nothing,

he simply looked around, blankly,

where, one would not know.

Some quiet moments passed by,

then my companion said, I want to live here.

What for, I asked, what will you do here?

I shall open a school, said my companion.

Let it not have marble, let it have bricks.

I will do what I can, you will do what you can.

We shall start the day with Morning Prayer.

I will teach, and you will sing.

We will tell the Bekaars,

they are as good as they think they are.

Will you be with me, asked my companion.

I said, I am always with you, my School Master.

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