A Death By A Thousand Cuts?

vide Gul H Advani

(edited for length)

Sometimes in the dark of the night 
I visit my conscience 
To see if it is still breathing 
For its dying a slow death
Every day.

When I buy vegetables from the vendor 
And his son “chhotu” smilingly weighs the potatoes 
Chhotu, a small child, who should be studying at school 
I look the other way
It dies a little.

When I pay for a meal in a fancy place 
An amount which is perhaps the monthly income 
Of the guard who holds the door open
And quickly I shrug away that thought
It dies a little

When I am decked up in a designer dress
A dress that cost a bomb 
And I see a woman at the crossing
In tatters, trying unsuccessfully to save her dignity 
And I immediately roll up my window
It dies a little

When I buy expensive gifts for my children 
On return, I see half-clad children 
With empty stomach and hungry eyes 
Selling toys at red light 
I try to salve my conscience by buying some, yet
It dies a little

When my sick maid sends her daughter to work 
Making her bunk school 
I know I should tell her to go back 
But I look at the loaded sink and dirty dishes 
And I tell myself that is just for a couple of days 
It dies a little

When my city is choked
Breathing is dangerous in the smog ridden metropolis
I take my car to work daily 
Not taking the metro, not trying car pool 
One car won’t make a difference, I think 
It dies a little

So when in the dark of the night
I visit my conscience 
And find it still breathing 
I am surprised 
For, with my own hands 
Daily, bit by bit, I kill it, I bury it.


Source: Symbols & Emoticons


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