When the heart burns

I wrote this poem during the Bombay riots of 93; I was 12-13 then. What has happened yet again in Bombay, made me feel the need to go back and read my words. Words that tumbled out when my illusion of security was shattered for the first time; when a human being’s dark side reared its ugly head in my life in the worst possible fashion.

A cry of pain in the night the only sound
The fire in you destroys all around
Obselete despondent some behave
For their mutual gains with lives of others they play
With blood in their eyes, they kill and fight
For what they think freedom, what they think rights
We cry out in fury, cry with pain
They slaughter humanity, but feel no shame
The wrong path they follow, the bullets they give
Shatters life around, doesn’t let anyone live
Women widowed, their children cry
Their cherished dreams shattered, defeated and deprived
The bare trees shiver, they thirsty earth cries
The anger, the pain, where passion rise and die
The fury like molten lava flows out
Destroy’s everything, wipes everything out
When the heart burns and fire sets all ablaze
Just pause for a moment, stop and gaze
Look at the blood and gore you have created
None but yourself, you have defeated
Never comes victory and happiness, with other people’s lives
Let everyone live peacefully, don’t make them die.

(Ignore the rhymes. Since I could write, I thought I could also be a poet.)

I didn’t know till then that people were capable of so much anger at some situation they didn’t create. I didn’t know that it was as easy to start viewing with suspicion or think as enemy people you loved. Hindu, Muslim, Christian- they weren’t religions to me. They were labels like Tamilian, Malayali, Maharashtrian were. Borders separating people, I understood. But God separating people? That’s something I still haven’t understood. Don’t think I’ll ever be able to understand that too. Oh yes, I do know each individual is unique. But to quote many, many people: we do breathe the same air and have blood coursing in our veins.

People separate. People differentiate. We listen to others and then tell our minds that, you and I, are not the same. That your pain, your passion, your beliefs are not the same as mine. But how can that be true? We all strive for joy, we all strive for good of the ones we love. How we can decide then that someone’s life is not valuable, someone’s existence can be just taken away because some people in your life have told you murder is the just thing to do. Of course life is going to be wrong, not everything goes right. But can you in your heart at least be right and know you are not going to harm someone because he thinks differently from you.

In god’s eyes we are all equals. Its only when we all start to believe that and teach our loved ones and children that there might be some hope. Violence outside wont end, till you end it in your heart.

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