Mainstream, VOL LV No 19 New Delhi April 29, 2017
Sunday 30 April 2017
I’m a poor mortal dwelling in a city ghetto,
working hard for a living all day long;
what I earn suffices only for daily needs.
Induced by a fellow dweller next door,
I take part in rallies to augment income.
The return is not bad: free transport,
food packet and a fixed amount of money
just for the sit-in till the end of the day.
On rally days I’m taken to the big ground
where I squat with others in an enclosure,
listening to full-mouthed rosy promises,
raising slogans, clapping hands in applause
till the last speaker delivers his speech;
and, then, I come back home, tired, bored.
But I find I make almost the same money,
sitting in the venue, as I do working all day.
Rallies, processions, demonstrations continue.
Strangely, I start feeling a sort of change
taking place within me: a voice articulating.
I refuse to acquiesce in the outside world,
wanting to say something loudly, protesting,
demanding that I’m heard, my wants met.
I steadily come to believe: to protest is to live,
propelling life’s eternal struggle to move ahead.