The migrant workers

She lifted bricks to build the edifice;
He mixed the cement to fix them together.
He kept guard of the apartment block.

He wove the cloth that his wife embroidered;
He stitched into a garment ready to wear

He sweated out in the hotel kitchen to make the chappatis;
She took care of the kids in the creche.

His job was to keep the coals burning, and skew the kebabs;
She was the nanny that changed the diapers.

He pushed the wheelchair of the Saheb;
She washed the utensils clean.

He watered the garden;
She pruned the rose bushes and kept the lawns green.

She dyed the cloth;
He hung it to dry.

She gathered the vegetables;
He pushed the cart all through the neighbourhood.

Back home, in yonder land, old parents waited for the ‘ting’ on their mobiles:
Just in time to pay the rent and buy the rations.

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Many had left behind fields sown,
Waiting to return and harvest them in time.

It was not this microscopic creature that pinned them down;
That threw them out of work;
That exhausted their food stocks;
That tied them down as helpless cattle.

It was big business;
It were the construction giants;
It were the the factory owners;
The restaurateurs, the big hoteliers;
The nemsahibs who could not do without them;
The farm owners who needed the hands;

But were unwilling to pay them full during the lay off;
Who needed them to restart their business but refused them money for their needs.

Their greed demanded they stay put;

They mistook their meekness at work for perpetual servility.

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But when the storm came, and the ships breached the quay;

When hungry, penniless humans rose as a tidal wave:
Their masters tried denying them transport;
They rode what they could find;
Thousands walked hundreds of miles in light and in darkness;
Through forest and highways;
Some dropped dead of exhaustion;
Some simply got run over.

No eye in the city they built and sustained shed a tear
The government refused to lend them a ear.

This is the saga of my beloved country;
This is the heritage of our glorious land;
And through this, self-reliance we must apparently learn.

When will the circus end;
When will the clowns be sent back to their tent.

Are these merely some arhythmic rants;
Or some meaningful chants?

Khalid Noor Mohammed (Linkedin) Khalid Noor Mohammed

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