I Must be Responsible for All This

To shut myself off

from what is only too real

is an occasional bliss,

but everyday, the constant assault of the world,

the daily confusion, the violence and the madness of things,

persist unabated, until I realize at last

that I must be responsible for all this.


Today, for instance, from bus stop to the office

I saw a man in rags,

bits of dirty body showing through tatters,

finishing a meal off the pavement.

He drank from a tin

while on a stained newspaper below,

grains of yellow rice lay scattered.

Then a woman wailing piteously

held a comatose baby

in a winnowing trough,

and begged for alms, saying it was dead,

while her other children defecated by the roadside.

Crowds jostled to get into buses,

trampling, pushing, shoving each other.

Everywhere the stench and suffocation of bodies.

The traffic had begun its satanic shuttle:

buses, lorries, cars, vans, auto-rickshaws,

motorcycles, scooters, mopeds, cycle-rickshaws, bicycles,

cattle, and pedestrians let loose

on a street without rules.


Who could have created this monstrosity

that goes by the name of life?

The only way of remaining sane

is not to see, not to feel, not to hear,

to become dumb and inert.

You want so to hug and hold the world

to accept all of it,

but it crushes you time and again

until you cry:

I know must be responsible for all this.



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  Copyright © 2005 - Makarand Paranjape