Freedom in Confinement

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 A mistake I made in life 

that I cannot now rectify;

yet I can still live

a meaningful life –

even if it’s in prison confines: 

As I have the gift of art –

of paintings and handiwork,

to guide my wasted life 

with hope and light.

 

I once had much love,

support of home and hearth –

with family and friends to count on;

Also a life well laid out, 

with dreams and aspirations

to guide my youthful path:

But then, choices I made in life –

circumstances guiding my stride,

proved me guilty of a crime

where my destiny was maligned;

Landing me in imprisonment

that took people I loved off my sight –

For no one cared if I was still alive, 

even if mere breathing is hardly a life! 

 

Yet life showed me a spark of light

in the darkness of my confines –

a kind lady through her NGO – Rakshak,

brought in an oil lamp of hope:

Out of painting and craft lessons she evoked –

in all of us men and women,

a renewed will to live and be known 

for our skills – as a beacon of hope;

not merely for mistakes we’ve committed –

thus burying us alive in our dark cells,

from where not even sun or moon is visible.

 

Now look at these rays of coloured light

that my dark world have illumined,

through this exhibition 

at the Indian Museum –

filling me with pride and an appreciation:

That my paintings are fetching 

from kind people and organisations, 

who love art in preservation of heritage –

to reinforce Calcutta’s culture I was born in

and am now passionate in upholding;

to enable a life of beauty and satisfaction 

I had never dreamed of for myself – 

nor had my parents and friends,

not even for my children had I imagined –

who were ashamed of my existence! 

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