The madman of Laitumkhrah
goes to the local post office
to post his letter to the sky.
‘A letter to the sky, how much?’
To humour him, they say,
‘One rupee...one rupee for a letter to the sky.’
He tenderly puts the letter in a white envelope,
writes down his address
and puts it in a red box,
pretty sure it would be delivered to the sky.
After a few days he returns:
‘No reply has come to my house,
has it come to the post office?’
The clerk says with a smile,
‘Nothing has come, perhaps in a while.’
To her colleagues she says,
‘He sends a letter to the sky and expects a reply,
imagine, a letter to the sky and he expects a reply!
Poor, poor fool! Mad! Mad! Mad!’
And they laugh at the lunatic, they pity him,
and they go to their places of worship,
and they pray to their gods in the sky.
Kynpham Sing Nongkynrih is an award-winning poet and writer, writing in Khasi and English. His latest works include the epic novel Funeral Nights (Westland Books), The Yearning of Seeds and Time’s Barter: Haiku and Senryu (HarperCollins). He is the author of Around the Hearth: Khasi Legends and the co-editor of Dancing Earth: An Anthology of Poetry from Northeast India (Penguin).
He has published his works extensively in India and overseas. His awards include the first North-East Poetry Award (Tripura, 2004), the first Veer Shankar Shah-Raghunath Shah National Award for Tribal Literature (Madhya Pradesh, 2008), a Tagore Fellowship (IIAS, Shimla, 2018), and The Bangalore Review June Jazz Award (2021). He teaches literature at North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong.