There was always the regret of being born after the birth of proverbs,
of being an arriviste when a teacher said ‘Too many cooks spoil the broth’.
For in your home was only one cook, a tired and reluctant mother de-seeding papayas.
Or when your grandfather behaved like god, saying ‘Honesty is the best policy’.
You wanted to tell him how that adage had passed its expiry date.
What silliness might have incubated that folk knowledge, what strange times?
No history book tells you those; historians don’t care for the birthdates of wisdom.

You’ve known it intuitively, how every generation gives birth to at least one.
You laugh at those that fuelled your parents: ‘Aaram Haram Hai’.
They owe their knee pains and life insurance policies to it.
You laugh at your uncle, who was nearly killed by ‘Indira Hatao, Desh Bachao’.
One day you suddenly notice how aphorisms are always by the anonymous.
And you immediately turn into an adult. You grow anxious, you are a competitor.
You want your generation’s proverb to be victorious, as if wisdom were a bestselling category.
You still don’t understand the difference between proverbs and slogans.
You can’t yet see the scaffolding of history that keeps slogans alive.
Proverbs are a community’s heirlooms – you must measure your height against them.

Your stadium sports grow shorter: playtime the distance between home and the workplace.
Your eyes feed industries and capitalism – everything is an advert, including yourself.
Your generation still hasn’t found a proverb.
You wonder whether it’s a one word magic: ‘Delete’.
You vote like you get married: in both you are tourists. The serious leaves you aimless.
Silence is too domestic, a stupor. You turn to the noise for a proverb.
The clamour and the anger have scanned the statement:
‘Go to Pakistan’.
At first it surprises you, its teenage parody of ‘Go to Hell’.
Then you feel it grow inside you, like a male hormone, pushing your skin, giving you pleasure.

An actor says something on TV. He is only describing the shape of his fear.
They give it definition. He’s made a film called ‘Ra.One’. And Don.
A Yogi turns him into a terrorist. ‘Go to Pakistan’. Chuck De India.
It could be a film, the dialogue thrown at him:
He lives here but his ‘aatma is in Pakistan’.
But this aatma is not soul, it’s the colloquial for ghost.
Pakistan becomes a graveyard story.

It’s been growing through the summer, the words gathering girth.
You still can’t find the moral in the adage.
The Bandra police beat up the Shaikh brothers and instruct, ‘Go to Pakistan’.
Those who are dying without beef can go to Pakistan.’
If Muslims want any special treatment as Muslims, they should go to Pakistan.’
Those opposed to Narendra Modi should go to Pakistan.’
If the BJP loses in Bihar, crackers will burst in Pakistan.’
Say “Vande Mataram” or go to Pakistan.’
Pakistan – Slaughter House, Luxury Spa, Language School.
They become travel agents – Sell That Place, Send Them to Pakistan.

Sometimes they want to break the monotony. They make it sound like ‘Kala Pani’.
Ghulam Ali will sing in Delhi. They are insecure, they change the verb.
‘Go’ invites its opposite: Don’t you dare come here; Stay in Pakistan.
And everyday new Partitions grow inside televisions.

One day, a crow flies away with an ear of baby corn.
The young greengrocer’s words pursue the bird: ‘Go to Pakistan’.
And you grow certain that this is how all proverbs are born.