Mysteries of the Wild
At the tiffin break they surrounded him all wanted to have a look
He held it tight in the dim class light in his hand the hidden book
The boy was proud for the gathered crowd each wanted to win his trust
Went on to plead made frantic bid reading the book was a must.
With no option he started auction the boy saw in the deal a chance
For the mystery book seemed worth more than a mere cursory glance
I stole a look at the tempting book leapt my heart of a curious child
On the cover glowed bright in dripping blood the title ‘Mysteries of the Wild’.
In childish imbalance I lost all sense was gripped with one mad desire
Come what may at whatever cost from the boy the book I must hire
The boy having got a whiff of my plan and gauged the urge on my face
Said ‘ten full rupees is what you must part I would settle for nothing less’.
Ten full rupees was real big money no way could be arranged by a child
Knowing it was absurd still I pondered at stake was ‘Mysteries of the Wild’
That day I ran home with just one thought haunting the mind of a child
Ten full rupees is no big deal for an access to the mysteries of the wild.
On that evening of ceaseless haunting I gave all my lessons a miss
For there was with me a note of ten rupee given by dad as school fees
It needed a tough will to strike devil’s deal put the money to misuse
But possessed as I was to know the mystery I needed no reason’s excuse.
Next day in the class without a fuss I paid him the sum of school fees,
‘Give me the book as you promised for I’ve brought your ten rupees’.
‘I’m so sorry’ said the cunning lad ‘the book is taken by someone,
so stand by for the time be in the queue like the other boys in the run’.
Hell on me broke loose tightened the noose I could hardly stand on my feet
Heard my dad shout when the truth was found out the result couldn’t be sweet
The thrashings I got scolding and what not the bitter memories of a child
Sank all passions drowned the obsession to unravel the ‘Mysteries of the Wild’.
Years rolling by buried the child’s sigh lay hidden in the lost mind’s nook
The momentary thrill that remained unfulfilled forgotten was that prized book
Then one afternoon as I was passing by an almost antique bookstore
It peeped through a timeworn glass that book of mystery from the yore.
I felt an inexplicable yearning to own for once that book
To retrieve from its breast my childhood dream it took
‘What price’ I asked the man ‘I want to have it please’
‘Never mind it’s unsold long not worth ten rupees’.
I got the book with a heavy heart came sat in a corner of the park
Caressed soft held its bound cover that at last got my finger mark
In that twilight hour under evening star I wept like an inconsolable child
Knowing no more I had need of it I would never open the ‘Mysteries of the wild’.
Pradip Chattopadhyay's Other Poems
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