Straight from the Heart

When BRIDGE feels strongly about issues close to its heart, they find expression in words and are shared in this column. This is also a way for the BRIDGE founder and his associates to praise, provoke, and promote social themes that can benefit society at large. Here are some thoughts straight from the heart.

Are they any Lesser Indians

Are They any Lesser Indians?

Hi guys, I had to write this disturbed as I was by the horrible plight of our migrant brothers and sisters. I have no politics, no agenda. So don’t divert from what I am focusing on. I thought I must put down my pain and maybe create an awareness so that they can be helped. Hence the lines below.

I am sorry my sister, my brother…

I am sorry my sister, my brother,
the soul of India, yes only you deserve that name
because I had lost mine eons ago.
I am sorry for my derision as you trudged on
while ensconced in my balcony
I passed judgement, as was my wont.

I am sorry for banging my pots and pans
to drown out the wails of your children dear
writhing in pain from the blisters on their feet
while making the long walk home.
I am sorry for our mirth and the lights we lit
while darkness made my heart its permanent home.

I am sorry for casting aspersions on you
accusing you of being carriers of virus virulent
of being the 'these irresponsible bunch"
while I remained a living virus, more potent
and capable of killing multitudes because
I fanatically believed in a god holier than my neighbour's.

I am sorry for my litany of complaints
for having to walk the few yards
to the gates of my gated community
to fetch my food from Swiggy my love
while tens of thousands of you in transit
kept walking, nay crawling, with no food in sight

I am sorry for decrying the "doles" given out
through schemes like NREGA and what not,
perhaps your only lifeline in a divided world
where vultures like me rule the roost
who thrive on evading taxes with no qualms
while taking cover under isms convenient.

Yes, I am the villain, sorry now though I am,
the real virus that you should be scared of
who poisoned many a mind, and made them view you
through the prism of religion and surname
while taking shelter under the anesthitising comfort
of majoritarianism, that's a plague to our unity.

I am sorry for dismissing your sufferings untold
clothed in glorified words like tapasya and more.
I am also sorry for the alliterative words of eulogy
sung inside the cosy comforts of our TV studios
for those of you who fell by the wayside
while trekking to the safety of your homes in the wild

Oh how I regret standing at attention
Singing paeans for our storied Air Force pilots
showering petals per an impetuous command.
Using those able men and craft instead
to pick you and take you to destinations yonder
could've ended your pain and made it a folklore.

I am sorry your plight is a slap on our conscience collective,
an event to discern that it just takes a year, or maybe two,
of lockdown to flatten the curve of inequality and ego
and find me on the same line as yours, which alas,
could be one leading up to our Maker where we are called
to give account of our sojourn we call life.

I am sorry my very dear sister, dear brother,
for turning the other way while you faced the lathis
for my silence forced upon me by the powers that be
and for being so thankless despite your relentless toil
to keep me well-fed in my home sweet home.
Bid me, dear, to join your million mutinies now!
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