Treasure Island

Sukumar Ray

(30 October 1887 - 10 September 1923 / Calcutta / India)

The Missing Whiskers


They always knew the Boss babu
To be a gentle fellow
What happens if he in a jiffy
Turns all blue and yellow?

He was seated in his chair
Relaxed and free from care,
Indulging in his post-meridian nap,
When without a warning,
In the middle of his yawning,
Something right inside him seemed to snap.

With muffled cries he rolled his eyes
And threw his arms about,
'Alas I'm sick. Come save me quick'
Was what he sputtered out.

They heard him and they all began
To cluster round the stricken man
And pondered on the safest plan.
To bring him to his senses.'
Call the police ' 'No - the Vet'
His partner said, 'He seems upset'
'But careful he might bite yet'
Said his amanuensis.

But Boss Babu - his face all red and swollen -
Now declared, 'My moustache has bean stolen'.

'Stolen whiskers? ' they all cried,
'The Babu must be pacified"
And so they held a mirror to his face.
'There sir', they said 'You see
Your whiskers where they used to be
Who would dare to put you in disgrace? '
Babu now began to scream
'You dunder heads, I would not dream
Of ever wearing whiskers so outrageous.
They make me look a shaggy butcher
Know this - in the near future
I ought to - no, I must reduce your wages.
This he did. And then at random
He composed a memorandum
Herewith quoted (minus appendages) .

If you think your employees
Deserve your love - correction please:
They don't. They're fools. No commonsense.
They're full or crass incompetence.
The ones in my establishment
Deserve the highest punishment.
They show their cheek in not believing
Whiskers lend themselves to thieving
Their moustaches, I predict,
Will soon be mercilessly picked;
And when that happens they will know
What Man is to Moustachio:
Man is slave, Moustache is master,
Losing which Man meets disaster!

[Original: 'Gonf Churi' (Benglai) , Translation by: Satyajit Ray (the able son of Sukumar Roy) ]

Submitted: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Edited: Wednesday, March 14, 2012

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