By Rajnish Mishra

My daughter, eight, looked at me

with eyes: half-enquiring, half-afraid,

eyes with faith, half, at least,

and asked suddenly: Are we born again after death?

I looked at my wife. Our eyes met.

She smiled: that corners of the eyes,

so-it-did-happen smile, and I knew

it was not she who dropped

a hint to the child

of death or birth, or both.

I did not, I know. We don’t discuss death

at home, especially with children

awake or around: never with them around.

No, not death, the old enemy, no talks

in the recent past with anyone.

Death horrifies me.


So, I sat back,

took a pause,

filled my eyes with light and strength,

that fills the eyes of those

with half-faith, at least,

and told her boldly that half-lie:

‘No, you don’t have to die if you say no to death’.

I knew I was half-true.

Tricks language plays!

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