Highway Heroes

by R.K. Brojen

When I open my eyes
with the morning newspaper headlines
blockades cutting the national highways.
For every blockade shouts
in the name of democratic voice and non-violence
the common man in valleys and hills starve.
The Government agents of essential commodities
enjoy their democratic rights and freedom
in fixing the new prices of the commodities and
the common man become victims of everything.

For every blockade on NH-39 Ministers remember NH-53
They investigate the highway conditions
in assembly debates
and have been repairing it
since for a long time on Assembly tables
and in local newspapers.

Tomba, my friend from Mayang Imphal
the truck driver in the national highways does not believe in
the modified fortune forecast made by our local astrologer
after getting money
from his parents.
But he is real devotee of God
for unknown unforeseeable events he could encounter
on his highway journeys.
He is very simple
but clever enough to face undirected tax bullets
and is well experienced in bargaining
at each named and unnamed check posts. However,
the whistle of the tax takers are not meeting at a point
with the horns of the paying drivers.

He never afraid of gambling his life with the landslides
which does not have a fixed time and place stamped on them.
and take all liberty whenever they fall.
He has detailed accounts of damages
of the road where his life is at risk.
He has all the names of hotels and vendors
on both sides of the way ahead.
He knows where to stay where to hide
and where to run.

The missing stones on the roads
don’t have names or numbers on them
But can be found on the walls
of the leaders’ homes or in their bank accounts
in different places of the world.
But my friend volunteers and donates
money to repair the missing stones
on the roads.

On the way
the heat of the mid-day sun reminds him
of the fire that broke out in the forests
along the boundary of hills and valleys
that seems separating the two
but connected forever. But who lit the fire
that’s the only question which matters.
He saw and felt the raining clouds never have the bias
to all thirsty dry seeds waiting to sprout and
to the burning fires. But
Where is the wind blowing from
That’s the only t question that matters.
So he used to sing
in the dark side of every nights lighting
the dark ways of long highway with his truck's head lights.
But his songs are not loud enough
to break the silence of hills and valleys

it does not have the taste of ethnic civilization
the tune is not connected to the blockade cries
words free from all narrow minded hearts.
His songs are very popular in hotels
and vendors pan and grocery shops
among the common people
irrespective of hills or valleys.
But when his journey stops
the artificial starvation prevails the common man starves.

The truck drivers are real life heroes
On the national highways.

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