FINALLY FREE

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Azad Singh perched on a treetop listened intently to the politician’s tirade

The leader was promising that all problems of the farmers he would ameliorate

Azad wished to believe that all these well-meaning promises would materialize

But for the past five years in his village no development had crystallized

They still lived in darkness, sweated in the fields night and day

To reach the fields was an agony as there was nothing in the name of way

The politician visited the village only before election time

For which patchy roads were built in record time

But as soon the villagers cast their votes

The local politician rushed to the parliament to raise nation’s hope

But to his own constituency problems he didn’t provide any antidote

For the past five years Azad had slogged and slogged

Due to the arduous toil in the fields his whole body every night throbbed

He still couldn’t feed the stomach of his joint family of twelve members

Hunger, rain, pain, broken roofs, lack of water had become their regular oppressors

Tomorrow Azad’s elder daughter would be married to a pot-bellied wealthy money-lender

This was the result of Azad’s failing to repay the money that the lender  had tendered

Azad thought and thought so that he could somehow save his daughter from this plight

But after sleepless nights no rescue came to his sight

Perched on the treetop today he had hoped his local leader would grant some money

To all the farmers whose crop had been recently destroyed by sudden rain and winds gusty

The leader kept on talking about the steps he had taken to ensure his constituency’s growth

But Azad couldn’t comprehend that why these fictitious steps could not resolve his woes

The oppressive heat, sweat and the humming voice of the leader was lulling him to sleep

To escape from falling he tied his cotton towel to a branch steep

For hours he listened, but at last his empty stomach of five days put him to sleep

In his dreams Azad dreamt of sumptuous feasts for his family, a pucca house

A handsome groom for his daughter with all his woes vanishing into thin clouds

Azad dreamt of sleeping peacefully after many years

His fields were brimming with ripe yield and his family was finally in cheer

Lost in this perfect vision Azad’s body swayed forward

The towel tied to the branch his breathing swiftly haltered

He couldn’t shout for help, his eyes dilated

Slowly his lifeless body slumped forward from the branch

The crowd looked at this spectacle, a life that was now dormant

Someone climbed the tree and brought the body down

Soon tongues wagged debating whether this was suicide or an accident

This news of a death however could not put in the leader’s heart a dent

He still went on discussing future prospects of the constituency

He couldn’t let go of his rally because of a man who had died inconspicuously

The crowd felt sorry till the leader’s cronies whisked the body away

They again concentrated on the leader’s speech that was underway

The crowd knew they would be rewarded for their presence in the rally monetarily

So they did not let their heart’s sway to Azad’s plight even momentarily

Azad’s corpse finally reached his ramshackle home

His family out rightly his suicide condoned

The only person who shed pure tears for the hapless dead man

Was his daughter who believed Azad had sacrificed his life

As he couldn’t unwillingly her marriage to that lender authorize

She was relieved that her father true to his name at last was free from his life traumatized

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