Take me home, in the pandemic

(This poem reflects the sentiments of a migrant laborer who is trying to go home amid the lockdown in India.)

Covid19 Pandemic 3d India Lockdown Quarantine Stock Illustration ...

I know the world is facing a huge crisis, I understand

I was educated not in a school but on the streets of this land

And on the streets I am left to somehow fend

For myself- I never did intend

To not work- I am the unseen, forgotten laborer

Behind the country’s newly acquired glitter

Now that the sheen has been wiped away

By this coronavirus, I am left to struggle each day

I get it- you cannot build malls and villas right now

But what am I to do when the lockdown does not allow

Earning an honest living in this city that was supposed to be 

A haven for the poor, uneducated migrant workers like me

What am I to do, stranded alone without food, money or work-

I must return to the fields of my village- labor I do not shirk..

For if nothing else, my family is there

Maybe we can stretch the food from that tiny hectare

Of land for all of us- we are resourceful that way

But how do I get there in this lockdown today?

**

We at the bottom of the ladder already view

The world in a fatalistic way- the concepts are not new

Of hunger, disease and death, yet in desperation

Like you- we want to turn to our families for consolation

While people living abroad are brought back in planes

We have no transportation to alleviate our pain

**

I had heard this virus does not discriminate

It has affected the rich, it has affected heads of state

But, like every other calamity that has hit us before

The indigent like us are left shaken to the core

It’s not death that I fear, I think I can face

Death with more equanimity than others in this place

But dying in this city, where I was already trudging half-dead

Is difficult to contemplate- I will go where my life is, instead

I hope against hope a homebound train I shall find

Until then I’ll walk- I have made up my mind

Death is all around, what difference would it make eventually

If I  jump from a frying pan to a fire actually…

 

Image courtesy: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-illustration/covid19-pandemic-3d-india-lockdown-quarantine-1697131006)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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