A Tunnel

A tunnel lies ahead, below the ground.
No one knows the length of it, for no one,
who had dared to go inside, has returned
or called back to tell us, how long it runs.
The entrance is visible but no one knows
where the exit is or what awaits beyond.
If the tunnel were straight we could have known
what mystery is on the other side.
Although a few of us have seen it in our dreams
later no one can recall the world they were shown.

The Song for A Homeless Child

It was simply another night at work,
with the usual couple of hour’s rush
at the beginning and near the end of my shift
and an hour’s break within to breathe and smoke.
The break let us descend back on the ground
to have some tea and snacks in groups
beneath the panorama of the open sky
but we must report back in time.
That night during the break as I went down,
I felt the early chill of winter setting in,
(It was the second week of November.)
behind the thinnest veil of fog,
diffused throughout the capital
and by too much light rendered almost invisible.
I longed to get back to my office room,
air-conditioned, cozy and warm
but the fuming cigarette in my hand
held me back. As I looked at it to estimate
just how many puffs it would take
to burn away the rest of it, my shifting gaze
stumbled upon the sight of a sheepish child.
A boy, hardly beyond seven years of age,
walking in the crowd all alone,
with tear streaks drying on his innocent face.
On first look it seemed he was coming right at me,
naked above his waist and his tender skin
coated with a flimsy layer of dust, glazing
against the blinding city lights.
All around the crowd without even looking twice
moved about, as if there was nothing wrong,
as if the child I saw was a mere ghost,
just a hallucination of my weary mind.
It was all too real, I knew, as the boy
came closer on his tiny steps
lost in the cruel maze of life in his thoughts,
his rights to nourishment and care seemed lost as well.
Then he walked by but not before
I had looked deep into his empty eyes,
where only emptiness and nothing lived
in a void almost infinite.
It was a vacuum left behind
by the shock of a fatal birth,
by the hunger through nights and days,
by the recent loss of his home
and all the cruelties of a drifting life since then.
I had an urge to follow him and see
when, where and how the boy would go to sleep
but right then my intruding mobile phone
began to chime with vibration.
I received it and said, “Hello!”
It was my boss to tell me, I was running late.
When I looked up I could see no trace of the child
lost in the dense forest of indifferent crowds
busy with their own emptiness, like me.

Plebs Sordida

I’m dirty and uncouth,
I am hungry and crude,
even Poverty is richer than me!
I was born on the street
and then brought up by it
into another No One of the world.
I cannot read or write
the words my mother spoke.
I am the sordid pleb of today’s world,
cleaning and carrying filth,
grazing on rubbish dumps
for grains and morsels of life, thrown away.
I’m harassed by the law
for no identity.
Though they can’t say where I might have found one!
Curse my fate or the government is all I can!

I Am Thought

The silent night was dark and cold.
I was returning from my day’s errand
along an almost empty road
that I had seldom used before.
Though the winter was still a month away
the drying wind had an early chill
that rattled the core of my bones
and I hurried on a pair of weary legs.
When I was about halfway down the road
I saw an eerie shade of light, burning red,
which was not too far, so I said,
“I ought to take a look at that!”
and there I found a bleeding girl, too pale.
It was the glow of her blood on the ground
that I mistook for the eerie light.
She was bleeding but still alive
so I carried her in my quivering arms
all the way down to my humble place.
Once there I checked her up and down
and could see a lot of blood but no wound,
so I asked her in a baffled tone, “From where
do you bleed?”, to which she said, “From inside!”.
“Any way it can be stopped?”, I inquired.
Then she tilted up her head to look at me
and spoke with a fiery glow in her eyes,
“No, tonight I must die again.”
I was shocked to hear someone speak of death
with such indifference, as if
they had died more than once before.
‘Had she?’, I wondered and asked, “Who are you?”.
“Ten thousand years ago I was born here on Earth
out of joy, sorrow, hunger, lust and vicious war.
Since then I have lived and died too many a time
to be worried about either life or death again.
Once in every generation I have died
bleeding, though one is yet to see a wound so far.
Then the next morning I would find myself alive
once more, somewhere. I am Thought.”, she replied.

His Homecoming

He watched her walk away
down the road that faded into the horizon, when the sun
was setting too.
He watched her shadow growing long.
He could smell the faint aromas
of her hair, still
or was it his imagination running wild?
He stood there till the sun was seen no more,
till it was dark enough and his teardrops have dried.
With her memories buried,
he turned around
and took the road that used to take him home…

Along the way
he came across this place
where tall and haughty trees
made the darkness even heavier and cold.
There the night was more silent too
and he could almost hear the throbbing of his heart.
He overcame the urge to stand there for a while
thinking that he must return home…

Along the way
he came across this place
where loud and happy folks
made the night warmer and sparkling with gold.
There the darkness was brighter too
and he could almost see the throbbing of his heart.
He overcame the urge to stand there for a while
thinking that he must return home…

Though he must return home
before the night is murdered by the sun,
along the way
he came across this place
he could not recognize, it had
a barren ground that smelled
like rotten flesh.
he realized that this time the road as well
has not been true to him
and he must seek another way around…

It took him hours
to find a road again
that might take him back to his home,
by then the sky
has already started lighting up,
though the sun was still beyond the horizon.