The Song of Prufrock
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- 1987 Hashimpura massacre: The photographs that stand witness
(with apologies to T S Eliot)
Obfuscation, euphuism, euphemisms — we are groping for words to convey our feelings. Euphuism (a prose style) works best when conveying hidden thoughts in intimate places like Prufrock, the private club that was to welcome the privileged, courtesy Mr Tejpal. The name is taken from a poem by Eliot. A modern, revised version:
Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky.
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go, via certain half-deserted elevators,
Leave the movie stars and fawning waiters
Experience restless nights in five-star hotels
and beach-side places serving oyster-shells:
Corridors that follow like a tedious argument
of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question…
Oh, do not ask, "Why are you doing this?"
We are in a place where nothing is remiss.
Not in the conference room where men come and go
Talking of morality, molested women and Michelangelo.
The insidious thoughts that arrive with the incoming tide
licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
lingered on the poolside where innocence died,
slipped by the elevator and made a sudden leap,
and seeing that it was a soft November night,
banished all thoughts of an early sleep.
Let there be no feigned hesitation or excuse,
There is no place for non-consensual rights,
else I may be impelled to seek punitive 'recuse'.
This is a place that instigates momentary lapses of judgment
where conversations can become loaded heavily,
even playful exchanges of a flirtatious nature can be
misconstrued, converted into sexual intent.
We discuss desire and the near impossibility of fidelity
on stormy nights and thunderclouds when trees were bent,
The aftermath will intrude angrily into our conjoined future