Head Officer Chief Babu was a very peaceful man--
And then he turned mental--who knew how it began?
He sat drowsing in his chair, smiling a happy smile
When suddenly, it seemed, something drove him wild.
He leapt up and flung his arms about, his eyes red as brick,
He shouted out, Im lost, Im lost, do save me quick!
Some ran for a doctor, some yelled Police! with all their might,
Some advised restraint: Careful, he could bite!
Everyone was rushing frantic, leaving letters untyped--
Then the Babu cried, Oh help, my mustache has been swiped.
Lost his mustache? Incredible! How could it be?
But his handlebars were just the same, plain for all to see.
They tried to explain things, held a mirror to his face:
His whiskers werent stolen, that couldnt be the case.
But angry as fire, an eggplant in hot oil, he sputtered and shook:
I dont believe a single man, I know each of you crooks.
Dirty and ragged, an over-used broom--an obvious pretender!--
This kind of mustache was kept by Shyambabus milk vendor.
Ill shoot the whole lot! if you say this mustache is mine.
And right away he proclaimed for all a rather hefty fine.
Getting hotter by the minute, he wrote and underlined in red:
Give anyone an inch of rope, theyll climb up on your head.
These monkeys at the office, with brains of dung and hay--
Where my perfect mustache went, not one of them can say.
I should grab their whiskers and dance them up and down
Or shave their sorry heads with a spade upon their crown.
They claim the mustache is mine--as though its something you can own!
The mustache owns the man, my friend--thats how we all are known.
© 2003 by Prasenjit Gupta
Prasenjit Gupta [Proshenjit Gupto
Prasenjit Gupta is a translator and writer living in Iowa City.
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