The Chanawala of Haflong by Andrew Kaiminthang Hangsing

 

Plies he, his trade, on the streets of Haflong;
Morn to evening, he wanders daylong!
From one end of the town to another,
A common figure is he at get-togethers.
The goods-laden wooden plate atop his head –
His sole source of daily bread –
And the stand that’s, of bamboo, made
(Albeit, from the sun, it provides no shade);
Entwined must be his life with these,
His companions until his breathing cease.
Master of himself, he serves none
Except those who frequent his paper cone
And I, for one, often wonder
If, like him, life could be spent in meaningful wander
With thoughts not farther than tomorrow
And money just enough to not borrow.

”Back in Bihar, partner” says he
As nonchalant as can be,
”My daughter awaits for me;
When I left her, she was three, you see
And though I meet her once a year,
I hate to be, from her, this far.”
Embedded still on his face is his trademark grin,
A sarcastic barb at Life amidst the din.
His is the face of idyllic leisure
In a world of hurried creatures;
A face that expose not his troubles
But invites you to pause and enjoy Life’s trifles.
A quiet lesson, unwittingly, he teach
For he practise and yet not preach
And I, for one, often wonder
If, like him, life could be spent in meaningful wander
With thoughts not farther than tomorrow
And money just enough to not borrow.

 

*Haflong = the sole hill station of Assam, India.