Thursday, May 2, 2019

Mombati Sarkar & Nostalgia Spills Over - Ben Zongte

Like words from a stammering tongue,
Power keeps eluding us in the hills.
It slips away unannounced
and when it comes back,
as though a war hero has returned -
is met with bursts of applause
and the mothers’ resounding ‘hallelujah’
can be heard across the land.

Its absence brings talk of politics
And the angry menfolk have even
branded the government ‘Mombati Sarkar’
Some proclaim that they
are being forcefully cut off
because the government
is making up for losses
While others in defense
Shout, ‘It’s because of the rain!’

In some houses, the darkness
lends room for an eerie setting
to talk about encounters retold
of creatures pale and cold
that rode with lone riders
on their way back home.
And on this note, the storyteller
would send the youngest boy
scurrying reluctantly to fetch
a glass of water, though
none seemed thirsty at all.

Meanwhile in corners
mothers and grandmothers gather;
cradling infants frightened by the dark.
They hum hymns from Church
and talk softly of the impermanence of darkness,
and how it makes the stars appear brighter.
They pray to God and ask for light to be restored.

Then by strange consonance, or utter luck,
a star indeed appears victorious
to form a new government,
which sends the people asking,

If this could be the answer
‘Will the star restore their light?’ or
Have they been cursed with yet
another ‘Mombati Sarkar’?


Nostalgia spills over
this soul like a hedge
of pink bougainvillea
on a white picket fence
in spring.

Yet, amidst the billowing
and spring songs,
the warm reverie
and my gandmother's memory.
I still cannot make amends
with what time has done.

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