The river can’t cry for the tears will never dry. However, on a fateful evening of November, the couples holding hands on the Uzanbazar riverside did see a few more ripples than usual. The mighty river, nonchalant and blasé now from all the turmoil it has witnessed over the years, has finally broken down. Like a father who had not shed one tear when his wife died, in the belief that his son would love him even more, only to see him dying in front of his own eyes- the river is sadder than anyone of us can dread to be. The lights, as I write, from the Nabagraha and the Kamakhya hills are probably shining on the river in their comatose splendor but beneath the ostensible glitz, a father is silently sad as only a father can be.
The XXX Rum bought from a theka that stays open later than it’s supposed to near the railway station of the small non- descript town I live in, far away from where the man wrote his poetry and composed his music has got to my head and I’m happy about it, not because I believe the rum will speak better than me, but because I think my incisor, still very active, will incise better about this very surreal phenomenon of a person who wrote poems about the river and the people around Him and gave them music, in the process composing anthems for an entire community of people who believed the mother they were born off was wronging them, if it has some black rum warming its inherent taciturnity.
I am pretentious. I don’t even understand most of his poetry. But when he sings about the river, I feel so Axomiya, all I want to do in life is sit by the river and write poems about Him. The lights on the river will grudgingly whimper off soon; most of them already have- people will make love anyway; the adventurous will keep them on and the shy will switch them off. I drank cheap rum too, not to grieve him, but because tonight’s a Saturday and he’s to be celebrated not mourned. To the man who loved his whiskey and poetry; to the man who thought life was to be lived king size; to the man who loved the river like his father; to the man who made a whole generation of Marlboro smoking Pink Floyd worshipping write poems, no one would ever read, about the great river.
In the redness of the perfumed rum
I can feel you, your magical voice, hum
A ballad, which the Kuli secretly whispers, is about me
As the Kopou blossoms, forlornly, to thee.
RIP Bhupen Hazarika.
Note: The masculine references to the river’s because the Brahmaputra is considered to be a male river. Kuli is Assamese for the Cuckoo and Kopous are orchids. Him, if not evident enough, also refers to the river.