Dawn at Midnight

That Night, in a Prison cell at Mathura

In a trance they sit,
The mother and father
Holding the new baby
All those years of waiting
All the hurt of hoping
And all the pain of losing
Already forgotten.
As they hold him
They appear to have
Frozen in time. I watch with anxiety
And want to shout

Get going! Now!

What are you waiting for?
The dark hearted one
Will be here the minute
He senses the eighth one!
You can hold your baby

And cover his silky body

With tears of joy

When the time comes.

Now, get going!

Suddenly a bright light
Fills up the
Dreary prison walls
My beady yellow eyes
Almost pop out with fright
And I grip the wall tight.

Is it he himself?
Four armed, a bright disc
In an upper arm,
A glowing conch in another one
The lower left arm
Holding a lotus
Which seems to blush at his beauty
The right arm which says "Fear not"

Can dark be bright?
Can Sapphires glow with
The radiance of a million suns?
Can someone intoxicate
With a single smile?

Can a pair of eyes
Be filled with
So much compassion?
Can a voice wash away
The pain of long years?

As the great one speaks
Of his plans for them
The parents throw themselves
Before his radiant form.

He disappears and
The tiny one smiles

What sort of a newborn
Will be so quiet,
When he should be crying out
Shaking up the dark night?

The mother hugs
The tiny one once,
Sheds silent tears and
Swallows her whimpers.

Then, with trembling hands
She hands the treasure
To the waiting father
And as he looks at his
Hand cuffs , more
Incredible things happen.

Will miracles ever cease?
Will the magic of this night end?
Is this really happening or
Is this just a dream?

Clang! Broke the cuffs
Clang! Went all my ties
Of the temporal kind
Bang! opened the gates
Of the dark prison, and ,
Swoon! Fell the guards

With hope, his only companion
The father steps out of the
Now wide- open prison
With his baby boy.

I scurry out of the prison
As fast as I can
And drink in the sight
Of the newborn who lies
In a basket full of old clothes
Balanced on his father’s head.

But as he turned round the corner
I swear the magic baby smiled at me
As if to say "I’ve arrived!"
And made my lizard life worth living

PS: This was written around the Janmashtami of 2005.The occasion fills me with a certain awe every year.

As we decorate our floors with diluted rice dough and draw patterns we call "kolams" along the baby – sized foot prints, which are meant to symbolize his entry in to our homes and hearts, I wonder.

What was that night like? Were Devaki and Vasudev, the lucky parents, the only witnesses?

With the guards asleep, thanks to his magic we call Maya, who else could ‘ve witnessed the almighty in the form of a tiny baby, who arrived once again for us?
Who else was the lucky one?

Well, I’ve taken some liberties with this writing, but I don’t think he’d mind.

This is also the night his Sister and female counterpart Maya was born to another set of lucky parents,
This holy night,let the Brother-Sister duo walk in to our homes and hearts .

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