Sunday, 28 February 2010

Numbers

NUMBERS

(Translation of a Tamil poetry recited at a poets meet)


I tried and tried in vain
to unfold the eternal riddle
how this single word has been
confined within a few numbers!

Twin towers hit by two planes.
In the garb of democracy
and in the name of weapons
Afghan and Iraq reduced to rubbles.

Earth trembled beneath the seas
triggering waves along the coasts
tremors, cyclones and blasts
provide fodder for news channels
for days, even weeks

Number of lives lost is simply a matter of statistics
Figures of casualties alone live for years and years

I tried and tried in vain
to unfold the eternal riddle
how this single world has been
confined within a few numbers

“Give me a poetry” – I seek
“In how many lines” – they ask

“Give me a story” – I seek
“In how my pages” – they ask

“Give me an article” – I seek
“In how many words” – they ask

“Give us a lecture” – I seek
“For how many minutes” – they ask

I tried and tried in vain
to unfold the eternal riddle –

Could creative mind be
confined within a few numbers?

Inventor of wheel would never have thought
that the number of wheels could become
a symbol of status.

Two-wheel owners are useless folks
Four-wheel owners are worth a lot
Are you a commuter of six-wheel bus?
Poor guy you are unworthy to live!

Buses are numbered
flights are numbered
trains are numbered
streets are numbered
telephone numbers
cellphone numbers
bank account numbers
credit card numbers
pin code numbers
password numbers…

Without these numbers
we are just zeroes

We are in need of a house
“of how many rooms” they ask

we need a plot
“of how many yards” they ask

No need to know your neighbours
No need to count their friendly hands
Once known by their names – the humans
are now identified by their house numbers

Stars get fame by crores they charge.
Movies get their fame by crores they spend.
Talents are here just zeroes
waiting for numbers on to their left sides

Students are praised on their numbers in marks.
Dailies are praised on their numbers of copies.
Magazines are praised on their number of colours.
Channels are praised on their number of viewers.

No need to worry about the contents
profit ratio is enough for content

Computer revolution of these days
confined the world within two numbers.
One-and-zero are more than enough
to make this earth a global village

Entire wealth of nations
within the reach of a few hands.

Stock markets and inflations
are nothing more than numbers.

Those who lost their savings and
those who sleep with empty stomachs
will surely be assessed in surveys
and we can see their numbers.

Polity as well is changed by these numbers.
Any means and any ways - everyone's
aim is to reach the magic numbers.

While the average age goes on to increase
while the rate of birth goes on to increase
while the rate of mortality goes on to decrease
I become frightened and frightened…
Would I have to call my grandchildren
not by their names but by numbers?

Whenever I open my eyes to see
Numbers play their hide and seek

One can go on narrating the reign of numbers but
the numbers in clocks may go to sleep

Permit me to leave – I have to rush to sleep
to see and enjoy any number of dreams
Dreams have no limitations of seconds
Dreams have no limitations of numbers

Permit me to leave – I have to rush to sleep

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