The Road Taken

We started the journey on foot one morning,
After a while, found horses to ride,
Then coaches drawn by horses,
Followed by a host of other means
Of transportation–trains, ships, and airplanes—
Which brought us to bustling cities on our way,
Where we took private cars, each to our destination,
Drove alone or with a group of friends,
Chose the roads that were supposed to take us there,
Overtaking slow-moving vehicles and exceeding speed limits;
If by mistake, we chose the wrong lanes or roads,
We changed the lanes, and roads as well;
Too bad, if some travelled in the opposite direction
And saw no end to their journey or reached a wrong end.
Of course, we stopped along the way from time to time
To fill gas, take a hurried meal, and relax for a while
And to check with others if we were taking the right direction;
Reversed our course, if necessary,
But drove on with single-mindedness
More determined than ever to reach
Our individual goals by the road we took,
Despite heavy traffic slowing us down,
Not to speak of accidents, roadblocks, and diversions,
Worse still, hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes
–May God bless those who met their end
Because of the one or the other! –on the way,
Making the rest of us nervous at times,
Lose confidence if we will ever reach our destination,
Or lose patience and decide to return home,
While others move on to reach
Whatever name they use to define their individual goals,
Say, good health, wealth for self and family,
Or a name to leave on the pages of history;
Or happiness the kind that comes from a glimpse
Of the beauty of the lakes, the snowy peak by their side,
Stretching end to end the majestic sky
Above, kissing the stars the mountains in the background high.
Once you arrive at the spot, the rest of the journey is easy
On a road with a single lane ahead, smooth and straight,
Someone else at the wheel, you either protesting
Or deep in sleep in the passenger seat.


Projected Letters is a literary magazine dedicated to publishing the best new and established writing from around the world.


Saligrama K. Aithal has published six collections of short stories Many in One, One in Many,Inside India, Overlapping Worlds, Passage to More than India, and “Make in India” and Other Short Stories. His publications include a literary biography Riyana: The Child Once Everyone Was, and a study of Toni Morrison’s fiction Toni Morrison Novelist.