Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Burgeoning skyscrapers amidst the slums of Dharavi
Cater to a lost cause. I take a guided tour of Mumbai:

We traverse the paths between celebrity homes
And the tarred roads looping the mansions
Where film stars stay; but you do not point out
The thatched huts where the poverty stricken eke out
Their nightmares, dreaming of loaves and a little curry.
In beautiful skyscrapers built on the shoulders of laborers,
You toast my life with champagne drunk from crystal ware
While an alcoholic pauper dies of drinking French polish.
These sidewalks where I played as a lad in shorts...
With no notion that the rich eat from the plates of beggars;
Not knowing what it means to be naked and hungry
And the chasm between the well-to-do and the destitute.
You indicate the Gateway of India without eyeing
The old man sitting at its feet his bowl and belly empty.
You proudly wag an index finger at the flyovers and bridges
But do not mention whether they cross the divide between
Those who have and those who do not have.

Fool! You show me the Mumbai where I do not stay...
For the Mumbai I know lives in the graveyards of the poor.

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