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A collaboration over too much coffee.
coffee and pen

20 October, 2007

I Can’t Figure Out Why Sathe Died

Sathe worked in the Traffic Accounts department.

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
Hovering.
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
Single-mindedly.
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.

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