Oh, go speak to your fat books
And don’t tell me what is and how it is. And what should be and how it all should be. Enough. Who are you? You read books, right. You have books to read. And that means a whole lot many things. Many more things that you have than just books. Having books, keeping books, reading books, all of that comes from having much else. It means you have shelves in a house. It means you have a house on a plot. It means that plot came from having more than just books.
That’s where you come from. I shall not give it a name. But it has a name. We all know it. We know who has it. We know who does not. It is all a cycle of things. You have books, you must come from more things. You will probably go on to even more things. You don’t have books. Well. You haven’t made a start, have you?
You know this from that, right? You know why this is this and that is that, right? You know things, right? I do not know things. That too is right. But I know things you do not know. But you will tell me what you know is the thing to know and what I know may also be a thing but not such a thing of significance at all. I could have told you what you tell me. Maybe I could have told you more things than you tell me. Perhaps in different and contrary ways too.
But you never allowed me things. Your books. And the things that come with having books, all those things. You told me books are not for you. And now you blame me for not having read. And you fling things on me that you tell me are good things but I have no way of knowing. Your volumes and your verses, your phrases and your platitudes, your language and your literature, your definitions and deductions, your concepts and criticisms. Your ideas. Your ideologies. Your cleaving of virtue from vice. Your meditations on right and righteous things. Your inventories of wrong and wrongdoing. Your elaborate philosophies, your rousing perorations. What do I know of them? What do I understand? Big words. And the bigger stuff they might contain. I don’t understand them. Maybe they made sense to you, they don’t make sense to me. Kaala akshar bhains baraabar. There, I flung a buffalo at you, did my bit.
I took one of your fat tomes and copied the biggest and most confounding words I could randomly find and wrote them down above in the short time I have for all or any of this, in the little space I have been given. Thank you for this space. Thank you for allowing me to explain to you that I do not understand a syllable of the aforesaid, and all that it might mean. You never told me how to. And therefore you cannot hope for me to understand and to emulate you. Or even to articulate why I will not. I do not have the means. I was never given the means. And now you blame me. You call me illiterate. Unable to understand. Your higher things, which you always kept higher than my reach. Don’t get at me. I do things. Things maybe you cannot do. Things you may look down upon as low and unworthy. Things that you will quote as reason for why you must lead and I must follow.
You milk the cow, I’ll read your books, any that you ask me to, Maa kasam. Even if I do not know how to read, I will sit down with your book and read, while you milk my cow. We shall see. First milk my cow. And take a lash of its tail on your face. And smell what it gives, from its udders and from that other orifice not far to reach. Fill a pail between your legs, then go deliver it. And we shall see. Then count your pennies, and if you save any — pennies or time — go then buy a book. We shall see.
What you read
And all you fed
That’s all well and high brow
But what good is that to my cow?