My mama had a big dream, I wasn't in it

By Suresh Pattali

Published: Thu 27 Feb 2020, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Sun 1 Mar 2020, 4:19 PM

Long ago, a poet-friend reminded me that I had not been writing for a while. I said there're issues to sort out in life. He said the best time to write is when you are neck-deep in a maelstrom of hardships. Great art often comes from great suffering, he reminded. He straddled prose and poetry with convincing command over both mediums. It took a while for me to understand the pattern of his writing.  
It's quite natural to shout, in as many decibels and words, when we are angry. It's equally human to stay composed when we are stricken with a tragedy. A whimper can better amplify our agony than a few loud sentences. Even a short sigh can be as powerful as a spoken word. That essentially explains the difference between prose and poetry. Poetry, as explained by William Wordsworth, is a spontaneous overflow of powerful emotions. It defies logic whereas logic defines prose.
A natural transition from prose to poetry happens when the writer experiences extreme pain and the heart takes charge of rendering the emotions. Such a sepulchral moment, when prose fails the writer, arrived when Viyan, an 18-month-old toddler in India's Kannur district, was allegedly murdered by his young mother to smoothen her way to the life of her paramour, a friend of her estranged husband.
The smiling face of the adorable little boy haunts me every time. Here, I metamorphose into Viyan to feel his anguish and helplessness. Read his melancholic soliloquy. Of course, in verse.

My mama had a little big dream,
I wasn't aware I wasn't in it,
I was too tiny to know it,
So she weaved it day in, day out.

I wasn't even a dot in the big, bright
Canvas she painted in her dream,
While I pranced on the beach of bliss,
And grandpa fished in the sea of hope.

I wasn't even a puny pitch in the drums
Her heart played for the love of her life,
I wasn't even a drop in the monsoons
She cried over and again to calm her soul.

The lullaby she crooned in the quiet
Of the night wasn't to serenade me.
Nor was the warmth of her bosom
Meant to keep me safe and snug.

All the heaves her chest breathed
Weren't to rock me to sleep.
Nor did her lips quiver to tell me
She loved me to the moon and back.

My mama had a little big dream,
My dad's aware he wasn't in it,
For he knew his friend was in it,
So, they fought day in, day out.

My dad's friend had a little big dream,
Mama wasn't aware she wasn't in it,
For she's blinded by his love,
So they pinged day in, day out.

My mama had a little big dream,
And I was a spoke in her wheel.
I was too tiny to know it,
So she schemed to take me out.

I was hungry and frisking her to wet my lips,
When she scooped me in her hands,
And strutted to the rolling ocean,
That gleamed silver in the moonlight.

Her breath battered me like a storm,
Shoulders burned my cheek like the sun,
Murmurs stabbed me like a spike,
Sense of desperation froze me like ice.

She lifted me to the skies and paused,
Like grandpa did to swirl me for fun.
The Morning Star blinked in horror,
As she tossed me on to the seawall.

Like in a fall from the giant Ferris Wheel,
I crumbled like an ember, silenced forever,
As the earth stopped spinning, wind stopped
Blowing, and ocean ceased roaring.

I lay there waiting to be picked up; hoping
to see a glimmer of love in her eyes.
But she lifted me again to douse the last
flicker of life that she bore in her womb.

My brittle skull hit the rocks in her violent swing,
Bulged eyes rolled to freeze one last glimpse,
Inky skies showered stardust on my body,
While breaking waves sprinkled holy water.

"Viyan, drink the milk," grandpa pleaded,
"Viyan, scare the crow and myna swooping
Down to steal the fish," grandma ordered.
"Viyan, give me a kiss," papa begged.

Her long dark hair flowing down her back
Glistened in the moonlight as she turned.
She betrayed no emotion, nor shed a tear,
She's my mama once upon no time.

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