Bamdev Sharma, IN



Free Verse


Vegetable Vendor


After the birds begin to chirp
and dewy drops are trickling
in the garden
a pelting noise is heard aside
a child is heard crying
or an old lady curses the chilly wind in the slum
or stray dogs bark because of some uneasy thing.

But the vegetable vendor moves ahead
passing through the slum
as indifferent as morning breeze
across the numb roads
stray dogs bark and yell at him
but he is in a mood and his sing song voice
breaks the misty tumult of the morning:
"Vegetables at your door."

He has covered his face
with the end of his torn shawl
and his tattered lungi ruffles as he walks
his feet show the most shriveled part of skin
like the vanity of the weather
that has clasped its grip
in that silent zone of the settlement.

Waiting for any indifferent lady
he pushes the gate
to break in the silence of the house
singing songs in a fidget.

Then a lady appears as lazily as a leech
spanking her body
her lips so tight
and she watches his vegetable basket
as crookedly as a cranky eagle would
picking lady's finger first
then pushing the onions aside
dropping it again
and testing and sniffing several times.

The vendor keeps on explaining
how fresh they are
just been harvested from the his own patch of land
his own daughter watered it
and his own wife planted it
he also dug the field partially
possibly for the long awaited deal to be made
but nothing comes up
as the lady slams the door
charging his vegetables as stale as dung
he extends his hands in vain
then drops his basket on the ground
all his lady's fingers are scattered
all his cabbages roll over
he picks them up
guessing that his business will fail.

But he proceeds for a journey
in the same sing song voice
entering the hard settlement
hoping that he could penetrate.

I wrote this poem in order to pay tribute to those vegetable vendors in our country who are often charged by people that they sell stale items. But people in the mall buy anything without any complaint or bargain because the vegetables are often packed with branded names. Poor people, like the one in the poem, who sell fresh items and come to the door are often made fun of.



About Bamdev Sharma, IN


This is Bamdev Sharma's first appearance in Sketchbook.









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