This is the second in a series of poems by Ramu Ramanathan on Aadhaar

In the middle of Rahu Kaalam

At the cusp of Shani Pradosh

I sip my cuppa of herbal tea

In the Athurveda Society

Just then –

A screech, a wail

That says, all heil

The cosmic atoms scurry here and there

My hair stands still, in the middle of air

From my balcony

What do I see

One mud pot, two white bedsheets

Three kilo rice, camphor, agarbathis

Pssst, they say

What, I enquire

Pass your cigarette lighter

We have to fire the pyre

Who is gone?

I stage whisper

It is Chiranjeev Yama-ji!!!

He, who lived in Kalichi?

Sandalwood paste

Applied with haste

The tulsi leaves

With vibhuthis

The abhishekam material

Is auspiciously readied

The death procession, starts to exit

After the high priest does his deed

I follow them

First left, then right

Men and women

Black and white

Life and afterlife

Atma and Moksha

1 and 0

Everything in harmony

Everything is a binary

So says the writing

In the Book of Destiny

We reach the crematorium maidan

Chiranjeev Yama-ji’s feet, face the south

The sentry in his uniform halts us with his lathi

The basti bully is pushed forward by his saathi,

Permission denied, Mere Bhai

Unless you have that – UIDAI

Now what sort of gobbledegook is that?

The bully asks, after he has had a spat

No Aadhaar

No death rite

(So don’t fight)

Show pyaar, o yaar

The death clerk in a bush-shirt points to a notification. Printed on an eco-solvent latex machine. It is the government signboard. The death clerk says in a high octave: Ladies and Gentlemen. In lieu of the fake deaths and duplicate deaths there has been an epidemic of benami deaths. These benami deaths threaten to destroy our society. It’s devastating our binary integrity. And so, as per Gazette No. 10/2017/F. No. P.12011/11/2016-ES Cell- DoR, all dead atmas have to be linked to Aadhaar. Full Stop!

Aadhaar: What be this godly creation?

Aadhaar: Who knows from whence this supreme astra sprang?

Aadhaar: How this celestial body cometh?

Aadhaar: Was it created or did it mutate?

The Most Highest He, who is in highest heaven,

He knows it – or perchance even He knows not

We sit outside the deathly gate

We wait to find out Yama Ji’s fate

His skin turns green, his robes are bloody red

Copper eyeballs, they pop out of his head

Time ticks

No one is in a hurry

Such is life

When things are binary

Mud pots and plastic bags

Cooked rice and green grams

Banana leaves and stale flowers

Darbha grass and agathee leaves

All things, binary

All things dead

Every single decision: 0 or 1

That’s how life becomes … no fun

Binary we are

Binary we will be

Binary is reality

Remember: The Eternal Truth

Even if you want to visit the bar

O Humanoid, You need an Aadhaar

Meanwhile –

At the Municipal gates

Hate multiplies into hate

Aadhaar is being sold

Hundred times, the rate

And Chiranjeev Yama-Ji?

He is trapped by our folly

What happens next, no one knows

We ask each other, at the gate

How long do we have to wait?

Citizens, don’t you know?

Now, what more don’t we know

It’s as simple as doh dooni chaar

You are all trapped here

Till Chiranjeev Yama-ji, gets his Aadhaar

Poem by Ramu Ramanathan

Recited by Joy Sengupta


The First poem