I heard about you, Raju;
I heard you were 40 years old.
I heard there were shackles around your ankles, and hooks through your ears.
You’d become deaf to the harsh, metallic scraping of chains on the soiled floor of your prison.
I heard you’ve never run to your mother, across an open plain.
I heard you never ran at all. Not more than a few tired steps.
Your chains were too heavy, your muscles too weak.
Have you ever tasted clean water, Raju?
Had you ever been alone under the stars, to think in silence?
Had you dreamt of an existence where suffering is only a part of the deal, and not the beginning and end of things?
How could you have imagined any differently?
My mind can’t bear the weight of your misery in captivity.
Raju, did you ever get to play? Or did games and tricks become a punishing routine for you?
Ending with you hungry and whipped, if you couldn’t perform.
When they came to you, after all those painful years, to pop off your cuffs,
Untether your ears, and return you to the wilderness…
To see the marks left behind on your misshapen ankles, by those shackles.
40 years, Raju.
Was it relief? Was it disbelief, or something more?
Was it a confirmation for you, of a dream you once had, of a place beyond the nightmare of human convention and perversion of nature?
I know you’ll never read this, and I’m only doing it for myself,
So I can express some of the frustration I feel, because of your story.
But what do I know about your story, Raju? What does anybody know about your journey?
Nothing. Except that it isn’t over yet.