We sat to drink in a corner, there were glasses chipped at the edges,
Everyone was advised to check and find out where it is safe to put your lips
The bottles were up from the bag, but not opened. The word drink is a vice in these places
Paranthaman has gone to fetch water to mix with the liquor, nobody took it neat.
The word drink is a vice, after we consume, we would think it is ambrosia,
We looked at each other suspiciously, if the number was adequate,
the sachets containing namkeens, everyone smiled anxiously.
Paranthaman hasn’t returned. Poor Paranthaman,
He didn’t have money to pay for the drink today, he made it up by doing the errands
First he has to locate a clean container, then bring water people couldn’t wait for
We abused PAaranthaman, called him hopeless, called him a waste. The waiting
Gave us time to discuss the Queen’s death, the poor old mare which was made
To follow royal practices, then we came to 73-year-old King. Kind Charles III.
Kings are no more in vogue anymore, Kings are archaic.
By the time Paranthaman returned people grew impatient,
We appreciated Charles III for being patient. Paranthaman set the jug on the floor,
We said we were sitting in a corner, earth is round, no corners,
We used the corner for being outside visibility of men who called the drink a vice,
Paranthaman said amidst pants, he had to borrow the jug from the grocery merchant
From whom the Namkeens were bought, that’s how much the grocer allows
The kings are no more in vogue, but the king saved the sweat of electing Presidents,
Conventions such as lineage came handy, the drink was poured, everyone raised the glasses,
The learned among us said, he is going to drink the most, he said
“Queen is dead, long live the King.” No one noticed
That we ran our fingers over the glass rims before sinking the drink into out guts.
Long live, the King or Queen whoever, we knew they left our land a long, long ago.
~ Saranyan BV