One night stand

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 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 save 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 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 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.

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