The Epic spoke but we could not hear.
Sreejit Datta teaches English and Cultural Studies at the Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham University in Mysore. Variously trained in comparative literature, Hindustani music and statistics; Sreejit happens to be an acclaimed vocalist who has been regularly performing across multiple Indian and non-Indian genres. He can be reached at:
The Epic has spoken at length to you;
And you, her children, have lent your ears
To the clamour of swords, defeat and victory.
As nonchalant humans, onlookers,
Passive bystanders for the most part,
You’ve heard her for long, without heeding.
You haven’t acted out your parts in her,
You’ve never aspired to become her characters.
Your lives are unmoved by the Epic’s metre.
She gave you the warning, admonishing you,
She tried ridding you of your deep dark fears;
In return, you turned her into texts and caricatures.
The slow Wheel of Time kept lurching forward –
Its inertia as frustrating as it is enviable,
In its wake came the plague that has swept you before.
And before long it has found you in its grip,
Wanting nothing but a complete annihilation
Of you and your memory – as has been done in Pakistan.
The Epic has spoken for long in words harsh,
In images that have painted unsparing truths,
The Epic has retuned, and caught you unawares.
She’d tell you her saga of strife and betrayal,
She’d show you the roads to death and immortality;
If only you could heed her now, if only you knew how to read.
But then her silly children will still keep wondering,
Bereft of resolution, as in every age they’ve asked:
Is it the Epic who hinges on our memory, or is it we who hinge on hers?