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A Worm’s Verse

A Worm’s Verse

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Arunodaya Chaudhuri was born in Barrackpore, West Bengal, in 1949. He spent the best part of his childhood in Hazaribagh, Bihar, studying in St. Xavier’s School there. He graduated from St. Xavier’s College, Calcutta, and completed his MA from the University of Calcutta. He is an advertising professional and has written extensively on advertising and related subjects. His books include Indian Advertising: Laughter and Tears (Niyogi Books), Indian Advertising 1780 to 1950 (Tata McGraw Hill), ITC versus BAT (Wheeler) and Revaluation (Vostok). He has also published Eleven New Plays (Footloose, 2015). He lives in Kolkata with his family.


An extract from this novella in verse is given below.

Little wiggly worm
With a pink spot
On its green back

Feels in good form;
As its track
Leads to the lot

Of cauliflowers
In jute sacks,
By the untidy cot,

Of an old merchant
Suffering from lack
Of sleep and pain.

He came, a mendicant,
From Marwar to Burrabazar,
To barter and gain

Wealth and happiness…
A wife from afar,
Her train bringing dowry

To a strange city,
So alien to sandy Marwar;
He remembers early struggles,

Drinking sweetened tea in
A tin cup; sure
No one suffered more!

In the meanwhile,
Worm encounters an ant;
Its antennae touching legs,

She curls up in guile:
Pink spot a feint;
A challenge in vain

As the ant bites:
Worm pays scant
Regard to leg bitten;

Uncoiling, Worm pulls
Away, towards the sack,
Drawn by the scent

Of fresh cabbage leaves.
The ant, feeling alone,
Waits for other ants

From the far end,
Holding in their mandibles
A torn dragonfly wing:

Easy to carry broken,
Like a dismantled aeroplane,
By eager soldiers high

On adrenaline; each ant
Moving quickly in formation,
Antennae touching, giving direction…

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Arunodaya Chaudhuri / indian / poetry /