FROM BEING LATE IN CALCUTTA
As soon as you mark me late
I’ll talk about the events that guide me
to the records you maintain.
I’ll talk about the crowded buses
and how often they invite
more people to step into them
from other than their scheduled stoppage.
I’ll emphasize on the number of speed-breakers
the Public Works Department has installed
on the roads and their poor performance
in preventing fatal accidents.
I’ll say the trains run late, the signals take
much time to turn green between the stations;
I won’t even forget to mention how a sudden protest
by the youth, demanding for jobs in government offices,
makes the train stand still for hours at places.
I’ll also talk about the day I arrived late
due to the instantaneous suspension of
underground train services as a man,
suffering from depression, killed himself
down the railway lane.
I’ll ask you to remember why I came late the other day…
I had severe indigestion despite eating at home;
I’ll blame the farmers who sprinkle poison on the crops;
I’ll point at my salary that cannot afford the organic veggies
my neighbor sells of late.
And then, I’ll invariably talk about maintenance and
population. I’ll appreciate China, one-child policy, and their claim
on how the government prevented four hundred million births,
and how India is thriving on the revenues earned from selling
nicotine and condoms.
I’ll make sure I talk about other issues
the next time I reach late.