On life and its vagaries

The Mirages We Investigate in Life

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While a little kid,

 In the hard blaze  of a summer noon,

I had crossed this river bed

On my bare feet,

All alone.


I came on it, then,

From the opposite end-

Where there is water yet.


An ancient boatman

Had deposited me safely

On this side  and left.

After all, there was only a thin stripe

Of water to cross.

And if  I were a bit tall

I could have waded across.


I was not worried about the rest of the river

Though it appeared like a vast and gleaming desert.

And there were mirages around too

Very cool and inviting

 I was confident.

It was solid ground wasn’t it?


Though very young, I had sturdy legs

And a fighting temper.


I began walking towards this end-

Through the shimmering expanse of sand.

My  foot sank in the squishy carpet,

That glittered with minute mica chips.

The sand had only felt slightly  warm then……

Then things changed.


 I had walked only for a bit,

A couple of furlongs, maybe, I don’t know,

When the sands turned violent on me.

It  metamorphosed  into

 a sizzling  plate of hellish fire in a moment.

It fried my soul through the thin sandals

I wore.

I couldn’t move

Walk , faint

Or go back

I was trapped.


No one had taught me how to

Navigate the  burning sands of  a river bed-

In the middle of a hellish  summer noon.

No one was even within earshot

To howl  a call of distress across.

I was all alone


The sights swam before me


I stripped to my shorts and tried

Stepping on my cloths to cool my heels

But the sands became  angrier then,

Getting through the thin veil of the flimsy garments –

And scorching every part they touched


In the next few (seemingly) millennia

I would run a bit and jump on my cloths

I would run a bit, jump on my cloths

I would run…………..

It was the longest span of terror

I ever endured.


While  lying on fading grass

After I got across

With blisters and burn marks over my body,

A well meaning old guy said:

“Child, you should have dug yourself in,

There’s cooler sand beneath the surface”


Is there? I doubt it to this very moment.


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