The poem Routine by Daruwalla is a face to face confrontation between Policemen and a crowd of agitators (a person who urges others to protest or rebel). The title of this poem shows that the incident described here is one of the routine nature with nothing extra ordinary or exceptional about it. The poet describes a confrontation between a Platoon of policemen and a large crowd of agitators.
The policemen wore Puthies which made them feel that their legs were burning. The helmets which they wore on their heads made them feel that their brains were on fire.
As soon as the policeman arrived at the place where the crowd had gathered to agitate and to indulge in violence, some of the members of the crowd standing alive their way moved backwards, but their movement was no indication of their being peaceful citizens. From them, came words of abuse which however the policemen ignored because they were accustomed to all kinds of filthy abuse from many of agitators on violence.
The agitators were youngsters, thus they were ready to burn the tramcars. One of the policemen who walked side by side with his boss, probably the superintendent, expressed his total disgust with agitators who were all young men in their teens. The policeman by the name of Karamsingh said that even his children were older that these agitators who had not yet attain the age of puberty.
The young agitators were ready to set fire to the tramcars but they would have been equally happy if they could burn the policemen. They already had a feeling that their (Policemen) legs covered with Puthies were on fire (Policemen wore Puthies which made them feel that their legs were burning).
The Frequent Occurrence in Keki N. Daruwalla’s poem Routine
Here, the happenings were merely a routine affair. Such an incident had taken place many times before, and it had, therefore, being well rehearsed. As the mob did not dispersed, the police officer ordered his men to lead their guns and they obeyed. He then pointed his own gun at the crowd and ordered the policemen to fire. As he had fired his gun at the crowd, one of the men in the mob was hit and fell down died. The police as on past such occasions had fired only in to the air.
A Leader’s Announcement on the Radio About the Incident
The Salvages squad then arrived and took the dead body in to the mortuary for the purposes of the usual postmortem examination. This squad also took away the tramcar which had been burned by the mob. Eventually the men marched back to their headquarters in the evening, one of the leaders of the agitators sets on the radio that they were marching forward and would continue the march till they achieve their aim.