News Womens Corner

My dying conscience

My dying conscience

By Rashmi Trivedi:

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 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 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 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 at Christmas I buy expensive gifts for my children
On return, I see half clad children
With empty stomach and hungry eyes
Selling Santa caps 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 I give my son the freedom
To come home late from a party
And yet when my daughter asks
I tell her it is not safe
I raise my voice when she questions why
It dies a little

When I hear about a rape
or a murder of a child,
I feel sad, yet a little thankful that it’s not my child
I can not look at myself in the mirror
It dies a little

When people fight over caste creed and religion
I feel hurt and helpless
I tell myself that my country is going to the dogs
I blame the corrupt politicians
Absolving myself of all responsibilities
It dies a little

When my city is choked Breathing is dangerous in the smog ridden Delhi
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 bury it.