My privilege

Here I am sitting on a seat; waiting for my train to arrive.

Meanwhile: –

(1)

On the speaker,”Your attention please, train number 8424 — Cuttack-Bhadrak passenger will arrive shortly on platform number 1.” (Repeats in hindi and our regional language — odia) (not my train)

(2)

The kids sitting (read: fighting) next to me, “I’m gonna kill you.” His nemesis reiterates, “No, I’m gonna kill you first!” (In odia)

(3)

<Insert pic — search your memory>

I noticed a pretty girl in the crowd. (Hell no, I dare not click a picture — the law won’t see the difference between appreciating something beautiful, and teasing.) (Also, that does sound creepy!)

(4)

Once a year there comes a time when people make a journey to whatever ‘Shiva’ (a hindu god) temple thay hold dearest. The custom demands them to wear saffron/orange outfit and carry water in earthen pots to be poured on ‘Shiva linga’ (just Google it). The thing is that they have to journey barefoot to the waterbody and then to the ‘Shiva’ temple. This could easily be a 30km walk in total. Yes, these guys have done their job and are now going back to home/work.

(5)

Then there is this railway police staring down the marginalized populace of the country.

(6)

<Insert a melancholic tune>

All this suddenly unearthed a feeling which, with great pain, we have managed to silence. It’s the feeling of how privileged we are for having everything that we have. This feeling is often invoked by Indian parents when they’re guilt-tripping their kids. A person with strong sense of empathy for other’s lack of privilege will find it almost impossible to live in peace. There is so much pain in this world that no one could sleep in peace, if they feel strongly for the underprivileged.

As for myself, I make sure, every once in a while, to offer money/service to someone needy. I also try real hard to be ethical while dealing with people. Politeness and humility are things that I practice everyday. I am planning to dedicate a day every week to serve the community — in whatever way I can. Yet, I feel that this isn’t enough…

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Am I being a hypocrite…?? I don’t know. It’s for you to judge.

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P.S. I started this piece while at the railway platform, and finished it while getting shoved around in the crowded train. (I was standing beside the guys shown below, until I got shoved steadily to another place.) (FYI I always travel with a ticket.)

Fortune Favours the Knave

What a tough day!

Too much work and too little play.

What a tough day!

 

Work is worship,

That’s what they say.

Oh, what a tough day!

 

Every morning gives you the same warning.

Walking barefoot on the tender grass,

Just maintaining some distance from the dingy mass;

A “hey!” stops you on your way.

Oh, what a tough day!

 

In the noon – expect no boon.

Tough bread and sweet syrup for lunch,

And things which cows refuse to munch;

On your plate, that’s what hurriedly they lay.

Oh, what a tough day!

 

At sundown, she donned the moth-eaten gown.

Sitting by the stove, with much toil, she did make,

A cup of coffee – before her love’s awake;

Sipping the drink, you mentioned – “I can’t stay.”

Oh, what a cruel day!

 

After nine, you accepted the dinner and the wine.

O’Brien, adjusting his spectacles,

Confirmed the resistance and its various obstacles;

And in favour of the brotherhood, that night, you did sway.

Oh, what an adventurous day!

 

At midnight, you notice that something’s not right.

On the wall, you see a telescreen,

Which, due to the portrait, was left unseen;

The thought police, with their truncheons, gave a menacing display.

Oh, what a terrifying day!

 

All night, with sticks and shocks, they show’d their might.

The enemy in a friend’s guise,

Seemed so confident, composed and wise;

Finally, with patience and tact, he ‘helped’ overcome your mental disarray.

Oh, what is a day?

 

At day-break, you promptly wake.

You see her again – under the spreading chestnut tree,

Where you sold her, and she sold thee;

“I love big brother”, was all you could say.

Oh, Oh, what a rectangular day!

 

P.S. It has been quite some time since I read ‘1984‘. I just hope that I remember its lessons.

This poem was originally posted on Allpoetry (date: – 25th March 2017). Find me there!