I Can’t Figure Out Why Sathe Died
Last week I gave him a brochure to prepare.
He did a good job
And the neat pages were on my desk in a day,
Spiral-binding, figures, flags, all in place
And his featureless face
I thought of recommending his name
For a Railway Week award.
Good clerks are hard to come by.
Sathe usually ate lunch at the office,
His thin shoulder bones hunched up over his desk
Maybe his wife was a good cook.
He definitely had a family.
I distinctly remember
Sanctioning an advance for a daughter’s wedding.
Sathe wore limp shirts of no colour
Yet perhaps his mind contained a palette.
I wouldn’t know
But it was possible.
Perhaps his wife wore blue to please him.
Perhaps he ached for the red soil of his village.
Perhaps he collected match-boxes.
Sathe’s death was in the local papers, on the ‘city’ page.
It didn’t cause much of a ripple.
Some people had killed some other people
And a few bystanders.
We held a Condolence Meeting.
I fast tracked the death-in-harness payments.
I can’t figure out, though, why Sathe died.
© Susmita Srivastava.