Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Where did our dignity go?

Where did our dignity go?
I saw it once in an Englishman’s movie, so it must be true
that once we were noble and driven.

Perhaps it is hidden under a lump of complacence
rotting on our streets with the garbage
your maid threw there this morning
so that your house could start the day clean.

Perhaps it made it down the rubble that we call a pavement,
hesitating on the corner, too scared to cross
like the old man waiting for someone to slow down
and give him enough time to hobble over to the other side of the road.

Perhaps the price was too high
and it couldn’t pay, so it couldn’t get admission.

Perhaps it was the wrong caste, or no caste at all,
or perhaps it came barefoot,
and a young mother told it to get off the swings
that are meant for better-dressed children.

Perhaps it lost hope and drank itself into oblivion
like the middle-aged daily-wager passed out on the median
under a statue of Dr Ambedkar.

Perhaps it is low on a to-do list
and will always be set aside for tomorrow.

Perhaps it was a New Year’s resolution,
and we all know what happens to them.

Perhaps it is asleep,
or pretending to be asleep,
safe under the covers
so that the monsters cannot come out to get it.

Perhaps it does not know its own potential
like a woman kept indoors for her own safety.

Perhaps it cannot survive on its own,
like a child who needs a caring parent.

Perhaps the parent is us.

Perhaps it died, but 
we are a nation fond of reincarnation, so
perhaps it is wombed in our skulls,
waiting to be born.

By Nazu Tonse


zohra said...

Love it Nazu!
Only that last line could it be 'waiting to be reborn'?
just my 2cents
xxox Rohini

Art Earth Ink Soul said...

It could be indeed. But it won't be :-)

uzma said...

Thought provoking indeed and creatively expressed. Shows deep observation and quite enjoyed the symbolism. Well done.

Omar Ahmed said...

Very moved and brought to my knees with this piece. The way you weaved it, the ending was intense and profound. Thank you for spewing such poetry, what a delight to read. Loved how the theme of reincarnation was brought at the ending there, genius.


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