a poem by P.K.N. Panicker, India


Hey, Krishna, Do you realize
how severely punishable were the mischief
you committed?
You did not know, right?
If it were today
do you know how many bullets
we had to have spent for you?

When you bit and tore the nipples of poor ‘Poothana’
inviting her death
if it were today
we would have charged you for murder
and put you in jail.

When you swallowed mud from the front courtyard
if it were today
we would have administered enema
and kept you in the ICU at least two days.

When you and your friends
stole milk and butter stored in our kitchens
if it were today
we would have tied you up like a terrorist-thief,
lynched and handed over to the police
for them to again beat you up.

When you and your friends
threw stones at the earthen pots
our mothers and sisters carried on their heads
if it were today
without doubt we would have showered pellets on you.

When you climbed and danced
on the head of that giant-serpent in the stream
if it were today
we would have labelled you
a mentally deranged and admitted
in one or other mental hospitals.

When you and your friends hid the clothe
including undergarments
of our young girls
when they were taking bath
in the village pond, naked
and enjoyed their embarrassment
sitting on the branches of trees nearby
if it were today
we would have charged you
for abusing women under POCSO law;
got you locked up behind bars
and ensured a minimum life sentence.

But Krishna, you need not have any fear.
If you were here now,
we would have put you
even before the end of the lactation period
in one or other school
after giving a hefty sum as fee and graft;
And we would have brought you up
as a dear darling golden child
shut within the four walls of the school
as a good, obedient, student
who commits no mischief
and lay only golden eggs.

Note: I appreciate that only one who knows the Krishna stories will be able to appreciate this poem. It is intended more as a satire on modern education system and to emphasise that traditionally we were a society tolerant and appreciative of children’s pranks and never took them as serious offences. Today’s society has become intolerant.

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