does one do to pass time?
What masque, what music? How
shall we beguile
The lazy time, if not with some
delight? Asked the bard, dreamily, long, long back
when humanity was not yet on the rack.
The other day I sat beguiling the sad time,
watching videos of cute kittens,
licking their mother, purring their delight.
There was a funny one of a kitten, in feline poise,
blissfully perched on a tortoise. Meow, meow, it said,
chewing on a slice of bread,
still clinging to its mother,
smothering her with kisses.
Then there was the video of a young mother,
a human one this time, roaring like a lioness
to make her toddler snap out of her sulk.
Out she snapped with a bulky chortle,
spewing forth all her bottled-up appreciation
of her mommy’s efforts at making her laugh.
I laughed too, through lips
forever tilting downwards these days.
Yes, it was then that I saw that video,
so heart- wrenching, of a migrant labourer mother – silent,
lying breathless at the railway platform,
as her half -clad kid tried to wake her up from deep sleep
while the elder one moved around in a futile bid,
to revive his dead mother with a bottle of water
who, alas, was lost to the world, unaffected by her kids’ efforts.
She went on sleeping, untouched by her kids’ weeping.
Two bags with her meagre belongings
lying forlornly on her side.
They say she died of hunger, heat and dehydration,
but don’t we know in our heart of hearts, that the poor,
emaciated woman – homeless in her own home,
actually died due to our robust indifference?
- This poem was triggered by the death of a migrant woman at MuzaffarNagar railway platform ,[ Bihar , India ] on 25 May , 2020 , a video of this tragic incident had later gone viral .