Hour of Coming (poem) explained

The Hour of Coming is the English translation of the Oriya poem Asibaara Belaa by the noted poet and translator Dr Tapan Kumar Pradhan. The poem was selected for the Indian Literature Golden Jubilee Literary Translation Award 1957-2007 of Sahitya Akademi, the National Literary Academy of India. It received widespread acclaim following its publication in the Indian Literature Volume 242 during November-December 2007. The poem turned out to be prophetic, and became famous because of the miraculous coincidences between its final stanza and the events at the inaugural World Twenty20 Cricket final match.

The Poem

Death does not come when you call Him

However much you call, He never comes :

He comes only at his appointed hour -

Playing hide and seek, just biding his time

Comes Death one day

all of a sudden !

When you are lying alone in your bed of rags,

Flies on your face, blood in the nostrils,

Knees full of pus, boils under buttocks

With nobody nearby just to say 'Ah Dear !' to you

With no strength left even to vomit things out

And with eyes filled with tears mixed with pain

You cry out loud - Death ! Death ! O Death!

Can't bear it any more Oh Take me away Death !!

But never comes Death !

When you are sitting alone in the middle of the night

Under the village banyan tree wrapped in a blanket

Looking at your younger brother's funeral pyre :

In the burning embers you see your wife's dead face -

Remember your playmates, school-friends, dead face

You cry out loud pressing your aching heart to your chest

Friends gone, kins gone, daughter gone to her in-laws :

Why do you now O Lord still keep me in this world !

You wish, if only

could just now

come Death !!

Never comes Death !

When you are relaxing supine in your bed

Pressing the radio close, listening to cricket :

India versus Pakistan - final match,

Just ten runs to win, and another wicket :

Your daughter comes near, and breaks the news

Son-in-law's promotion - ah what a good news,

Playing in her lap your four-month old grand-son

in his soft pink little fingers fondles your beard :

"Oh dear one ! my diamond one ! my golden one, my little one !

Umhh... let my remaining years be all yours O lovely one.... !"

You softly kiss your grandson's forehead -

Four runs to win :

Then comes Death !

Elements of Prophesy and Miraculous Coincidences

The fourth and last stanza of the poem describes an old man listening to the running commentary of an India-Pakistan cricket final match on radio. It may be noted that the final match of World Twenty20 Cricket was held on 24 September 2007 at Johannesburg in South Africa. India batted first, scoring 157 runs in 20 overs, and in reply Pakistan required to score at least five runs off the last ball, with just one wicket in hand.

It is interesting to note that the poem Hour of Coming was originally written by Dr Pradhan during January 2007, and it was translated by him into English only during the first week of August 2007, almost a month before the Twenty20 Championship was held during September 11–24, 2007. Before this championship India and Pakistan had never clashed together in any cricket tournanament. The poem not only prophesized such a final match, but also the exact events in the last over of the match where Pakistan was left to score five runs off the last four balls with just a single wicket left. Although Pakistan had the upper hand, as luck would have it Misbah-ul-Haq got out scooping the third ball, resulting in sort of a Sudden Death for Pakistan.