Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Only one way

I find every other person
Turning more and more
Dogmatic these days
As if they are sure
There is only one way
Of doing things;
It turns out
I have not learnt
Even to walk
After all these days;
Someone stops me
During my morning ritual
"You take either long steps
Or short ones
Not alternate like this,
That is not how it is done
You take steady strides
So that you sweat evenly
And burn calories uniformly"
I try out the new style
For a while
Find myself tottering
Like a drunk who's started early
Then go back to my normal routine
Just wanting to finish
My half-hour quota
The way I've always done ---
My new coach passing me
On my way back
Shakes his head disapprovingly
As if to say
"These guys never learn
Even when you teach them free"
At the water pump
My neighbour watches
My frantic strokes
Like a mother-in-law,
Soon I begin to fumble
And keep spilling
The water around,
I know what is coming:
He pushes my pot aside
Keeps his in position
Tells me, in the manner
Of a cricket coach
Showing a rookie batsman
How to grip the bat
"See, you should keep
Your left hand like this
On top, grip the handle
With the right like this
And pump steadily."
When I reject his offer
To bring some more pots
For me to practise
He goes away muttering
How people these days
Never listen and never learn.

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