He was not like this before–
the dark lad.
He was very shy
and stood shivering in a corner
wringing his hands, as if guilty

A lad, perhaps, a far away relations.
I, with too much work on my hands
and too full of thoughts in my head
had no time to ask his name.
“Let him do the household work,” I said.
Like a lamp, the dark lad’s eyes brightened,
as if he was blessed.
And suddenly
a dark light filled my house.
Frightened, my whole body shivered.
Some eyes could even be like this!
He remained quiet afterwards.
He caused no problems.
Spoke no unnecessary words.
Wasn’t eager to make friends
with the visitors or didn’t even grin like a slave.
When the visitors left
didn’t inquire who they were
but continued to do what he was doing,
as if there were no visitors at all.

I had not really seen him at all.
Now, when I have turned forty,
and with a pair of glasses,
now I see the dark body-
a frozen shadow or a frozen darkness–
he has grown massive like a butcher.
It was like the shadow


that somehow hid crouching under the feet in the teens
now suddenly standing up before me in the evening!
Was I frightened?

Nowadays he has grown too familiar.
He moves everywhere in my home,
seeks no permission and reminds
the escapades of the youth,
narrates the recent pleasures and laughs.
If I ask him to get out
he just grins and makes me afraid.

The other day, as I slept,
he, sitting by my pillow,
was writing up the accounts.
Frightened, I shook my wife out of her sleep.
He threw down the papers and his pen
and angled a look at me, sharply.
He seethed in anger
and from the crack of his thickset lips
spat out, ‘traitor,’ as if he had
chewed and gnawed that word.
With long steps he strode away
as if the time had not come yet
to recall the credit!
In the morning,
when I wanted to say—
“this is not right”—
I could not say it.
Am I losing?

Did I lose out?
He came in yesterday when there Was no one around
and stood staring at me
throwing at my heart the spears of Black light
from his unblinking eyes.
He seemed restless like a jangamd
about to stomp his feet on my head.
Then, the space with in me
seemed to explode to talk with the space without.
Frightened, I ran to the room where I kept my gods
and locked up the door. I stumbled in darkness
and rubbed whatever idols I could lay my hands upon.
The golden spark did not emerge.