Treasure Island

Bashyam Narayanan


Me, the lone non-spewing chimney


Me, the lone non-spewing chimney
I stand forty feet tall
Overseeing the speeding vehicles on a road
That links the national capital and a state capital
When I rose about forty years agao
My owner was proud
Each morning he would spend two hours
Standing before me braving the hot summer sun
I am built of bricks
With a tapered top and
My bottom has a diameter of near twenty feet
Down under there, I am linked
To the emission zone of a brick baking furnace
A natural draught generated by keeping open the
Face of the furnace
Would make a flsh of hot air
Through me with smoke and other
Suffocating gases and vapours
My inside was getting more and more black
With soots depositing every day into a thick layer
Despite all that I was proud, feeling more than the real
As I was the first chimney to come up this far
My owner engaged a number of people
Old, young, girls, boys and women
In prearing moistened clay for the smooth conversion into a brick
At the end of which he would ensure
That they clay paste had the right moisture
Make blocks of wet unbaked bricks
Leave them for sun dry over the day
Next day he would put these innocent bricks to fire
Beneath me, making me to cough
No grudge against the owner
I could make out from this height
He was growing older and his children left him to himself
That last time when he came was
More than ten year now
Me and my furnance became abandoned
The hot furnace became a cool den
For rabbits, rats and snakes
My inner wall started dropping off
The soot deposits and become white in patches
Some people make use of my height
In advertising their products on me
With words running vertical
I am yet to feel weak
I stood a lost-count unmber of
Winter, summer, monsoon and post monsoon
I would be happy if any one finds out
The burning place beneath me
Makes a productive use of mine
As hundreds of chimneys on the other side of road
Are busy day and night
Spewing dense smokes that take a curly path
When they are out in the open from the chimney
You may even demolish me
And make use of the bricks I am of
I want to be useful as a chimney or its remnant bricks.

Submitted: Thursday, May 16, 2013
Edited: Friday, May 17, 2013

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