Love in the rain

Abul hasan
Translated by Rifat Munim

Do you recall it had rained once?

Once rain had come down to settle here like a train
At our station the raindrops, like robbers, were quite a nuisance all day;
Like petty politicians they chanted profound slogans
From neighbourhood to neighbourhood.

Yet we didn’t wade through the mud to attend the meeting.
Theatre got cancelled; people in this rain got back home
From both card games and rallies;
Trade was in a real mess, beset by damage and loss.

The ruckus caused all day long by those slogans
Demanding this person be damned and that person be freed,
Or shouting zindabad in someone else’s name —
At least that unnecessary ruckus would not taint the neighbourhood today.

Just a cluster of gentle trees caught in abrupt gusts of wind
Shook out their hair like some indiscreet woman in a courtyard,
And the emerging, zealous singer from next door
Raised a self-composed tune on the harmonium
And sang of clouds three times.

In came a few men wearing raincoats; they are addicted to tea.
Habitually they spoke to each other:
“What am I going to do? My teeth are falling out but salary never sees a raise.
I visit the doctors all right, but my body is failing:
Heart disease, eye disease — everything is going from bad to worse!”

Someone with a poor sense of humour intervened:
“You know what this means, right?
This rain always means hiring vehicles, unnecessary expenses.”

An arthritic patient cleared his throat:
“Hey boy, don’t you forget to add an extra slice of lemon in my tea!”

All these meticulous details and ordeals of their lives
We had easily ignored in the rain that day
Because it had rained heavily and gone on forever –
At the request of the ceaseless rain pouring out of the dark skies
We had to lie down side by side all day.

We had to read the novel written all over our hearts!

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