AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN VERSE

AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN VERSE

Mostly black on white
But I’m read all over
With words and pictures
From cover to cover.
 
I’m awaited everywhere
With the early morning sun
Brought by delivery boys
On a bike or brisk run.
 
Smelling of ink and paper
Fresh from the printing press
Containing news and views
And important peoples’ address.
 
Almost all my pages
Are scanned and read
With a sip of tea or coffee
And sometimes in bed.
 
And then I’m discarded
To the old papers’ lot
To be used and re-used
With whatever I’ve got.
 
Now listen to my story
From scratch to finish
From the newspaper office
To the heaps of rubbish.
 
My first page was grabbed
And crumpled when torn
To scrub glass and mirrors
Till they sparkled and shone.
 
The last Sports Section
Took off on a bus ride
With a sports enthusiast
Her traveling time to abide.
 
The rest of me was sold
To a re-cycling mart
And then I was separated
Into many a part.
 
One landed with a vendor
In his Bhel-Puri cart
The sheet was neatly folded
Into a cone to hold some Chaat.
 
The rage caused by its spices
Was vented out on me
Instead of in the garbage bin
I was hurled into the sea.
 
Another sheet of mine
Landed in a laundry
Wrapped around clean clothes
I flew and felt free.
 
Carried by the wind
I crossed many a border
Toll gate tax and fuel charges
Not being my bother.
 
Used to cover a note-book
Was my page with comic-strips
By an enterprising student
To bring smiles to classmates’ lips.
 
Some of my other parts
Were soaked in lots of water
By an old mask-maker
And his creative daughter.
 
They made a gluey paste
And shaped me out just fine
To form a pretty mask
Of Durga – most divine
 
I gloated in my new form
With jewels painted on.
I was revered and worshipped
And as a Goddess looked upon.
 
One big sheet of mine
Packed boxes of tea
And so I sat in the cargo
To travel across the sea.
 
Half my page was folded
To create a paper boat
And in the rainy puddles
Was set to sail and float.
 
One unlucky page
Held some stinky fish
Hoping it wouldn’t rot
Was my only wish.
 
Some lucky sheets were made
Into bags that were trendy
I felt so proud of myself
To be useful and eco-friendly.
 
The message written on them
Was loud and rather clear
‘Please, please, don’t cut trees
– If you think your life is dear!’
 
Just as my life’s journey
Yours could take you too
To places far or near
Or even Timbuctoo.
 Just make sure you’re useful
Till the very end.
Bringing cheer and goodwill
To every foe and friend!
RADHIKA D. SHYAM

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