Don’t Send Me Another Memo

The page is back under my control… Am posting something that has been with me for a while. And forgive the spacing between some of the lines.. I am trying to figure it out :/

It has been a while. The kids have been shot and they have been buried. We have since moved on. Sydney, Paris and Pathankot, innumerable natural calamities have grabbed our headlines and eyeballs. But the causes and the results are the same. To twist Sartre’s words around a bit, ‘Everything is different yet nothing has changed.’

We still forget that religion is not a path that we walk on. It is not even our destination. It is the light that we carry in our hands to show us the way, as we walk the path to our destination.

How can anyone decide that the light they carry gives them the right to extinguish someone else’s life and light.

This poem was written in December 2014.

Don’t send me another memo…
another forward.
Every time a bomb blows up
Twitter explodes.
Every time kids are chewed up
by bullets
fired by terror mongers and psychos
Facebook posts come alive.
‘It could have been our kids!’
‘We are so lucky!’
‘This is so sad!’
‘I feel so bad!’
‘What can one do?’
‘The world has gone mad!’
Just please STOP!

Remember Beslan. Beslan!?
You say the word out loud…
The fingers of your mind
Stretch and reach…
Yeah… it sounds familiar!
Where is it?
That is what is going to happen
to Peshawar… To Utoya
You think you will not forget.
Or that school in the US…
Hook something
Oh I forgot the name!
But those poor babes!

You know what we can do
With all our collective feel bads?
Not for polite company
the answer to that.
We tweet, post and whatsapp
And…. we are done with it…
Our duty done.
Until the next tragedy hits.
And here we go again….
‘It could have been our kids!’
‘We are so lucky!’
‘This is so sad!’
‘I feel so bad!’
‘What can one do?’
‘The world has gone mad!’
STOP!For heaven’s sake!
What can we do?
You ask…
Here’s what…

Don’t bad mouth
your Muslim neighbour.
Don’t laugh at the rituals
of your Hindu neighbour.
Treat the Christian and the Jew as one.
Don’t just preach…
But practice.
Not just in front of your kids…
But everytime.

Make them see the turban,
the beard and the veil…
for what it is.
A representation of someone’s faith,
not a threat to your belief!!
Stop huddling together and
flinching away from strangers.
Open your eyes.
Open your mind.
Open your heart… please.

I refuse to mourn.
To shed another tear.
Because tears are so fickle…
shed and wiped.
And then the inevitable moving on.
I refuse to feel bad.
My feeling bad is not worth
even half a cent.
I refuse to join a candle lit vigil,
or mouth platitudes.

But what I will do
is to teach my child…
That be you a Hindu or Mussalman
Be you a Sikh or a Jain
A Christian, Buddhist or Jew…
Don’t think it doesn’t matter!
It matters!
The language is different
but the message from
this tower of Babel
is the same.

Keep your colour in mind….
White, black, brown, yellow…
It is what makes you unique
It is also what makes you different.
And different is not bad,
it is interesting.

Stop brushing our differences
under the rug.
Rather dust it and address it.
I will stop walking
on fucking egg shells
When discussing religion, God,
faith, love, homosexuality and gender.
I will teach my child that
true peace lies
hand in hand with honesty
and courage.
And sometimes the bravest thing
we will be called upon to do
in our entire life will be to
quietly say “I don’t agree”
or “it’s not right.”
when faced by peer might

And while I teach my child all this
I will pay attention
and try to imbibe.
Practice what I preach…
Be a part of the human tribe.
‘What can you do?’
you still ask me!!?