Salad Days is a poem discussing the lessons I’ve learned throughout my childhood. Around the middle of the poem, I provide a single lesson that has changed my life profoundly. I implore the reader to take my advice to heart and truly understand what I am saying.
India is a set of two poems separated by a paragraph of creative nonfiction. The project discusses the ruthless and cunning cycle of poverty in third world countries. As a native of India, I base my thoughts on my country. Though, the poems and the paragraph can be applied to any third world country and its citizens.
During my young salad Days I went through many a phase. From my mature beginnings, To my bold adolescence, The stories i’ve heard, The lessons i’ve learned, Though bitter or sweet, Would shape me – No. define me, Into who you shall meet. And so, One such lesson, I will impart onto you, Before my time is up And I bid you adieu. The Day will come, When you will write Your last word. When you will attend your last lecture. When you will read Your last book. Though unlike most, That will be the day your journey begins. That will be the day You stop considering what other people think And start considering what you think. That will be the day You stop memorizing other people’s lines And start creating lines of your own. That will be the day You find your own voice, Because the longer you wait, The more it will fade. That will be the start Of your salad Days. From your mature beginnings To your bold adolescence, These days will shape you – No. Define you
Hardship. Deprivation. Poverty. As the scorching sun casts its everlasting ray of light, the grounded recipients know it will cause them nothing but pain. It is their ill will that precludes them from defending against the ruthless heat. It is their ill will that rids them if necessary resources such as food, water, life. It is their ill will that reserves them to a life of pain and misery, just like their ancestors prior. A story as old as time, as wretched as hell, continues to write new chapters every day. Drawing in multiple characters, multiple people, multiple victims, this story grows until it encapsulates entire nations. Hardship. Deprivation. Poverty.
“The fact is that, before 200 years, the British came to one of the richest countries in the world … A country where poverty was unknown” (Shashi Tharroz). India, once revered the rich nation providing a template for others, now serves as a world capital of poverty and destitution. A subcontinent formerly dubbed “the golden bird” has now become “a poor man’s country.” The inhabitants of this country, born into a life of hardship, are left without a basic and essential liberty – the pursuit of happiness.
It was a vicious cycle. A cycle where a man’s life was that of his father, of his grandfather. A life where men worked on farms until their hands were slippery with blood. A life where a man would come home to his hungry family, almost waiting for there to be one less mouth to feed. A life where a man’s son would gasp his last breath, desperately looking to him for help, and that would be a Tuesday. It was a vicious cycle.
About the Author
Aditya Aggarwal is a high school writer just beginning his journey in publication. He is from Scotch Plains, New Jersey, and is eager to start his writing journey. He enjoys reading fairy tales and loves to create alternate stories with his favorite characters. Aditya is grateful for the work of the editors and staff in creating a community where he can showcase his craft.