Candle of hope

Citizenship, a crazed ship where everything is out of control.

I have been questioned about my rights, but never been given one.

They told me education is for me when I was born, but never gave me any when I asked for it..

Schools, temples and all the places where the “pure” people go is not for us.

Good food, happiness, fun is not for us. This is taught to every “low born” kid even before he learns “Maa!”

Then what exactly is good for us? Is what I have been asking for long but I don’t hear an answer.

Papa told me that we are Indians and we are citizens of this country.

“Are you sure? Which country papa, Are these people our own? Who is an Indian, what is a citizen?” is what I asked.

And for the first time papa din’t have an answer.

“Citizenship, a crazed ship where everything is out of control,” he said softly.

Even in the amidst of thick silent nights, when I sat alone and stared at the moon without any hindrance,

I could hear screams! Terrible screams. Screams that I have never heard so loud.

“Who is it?” I ask. I asked again “Who is it?!”

Could hear none, but myself.

Worn, torn, rotten, used, impure, dirt, black, poor, this is all I have known, I have been given, I have been called.

The broom my pencil and the mop my brush and the floor my ajar canvas where I am a free painter, who is creating master pieces for the ones who have the heart that can see it, the eyes to feel it, and hands to love it

I could see the reflection of the flickering flame on my eyes in the mirror. Fighting hard to beat the wind.

I was deeply contemplating as the storm was passing outside the window.

A world where equality, justice, love, respect, brotherhood…have just remained to be mere words in the dictionary of the fools.

A world where men in saffron come and make you colour blind. I never knew I would hate a colour that bad.

Citizenship, a crazed ship where everything is out of control.

The flickering flame of the candle lost the battle at last.

Surprised I was! As I could still see the reflection of the flame on my eyes in the mirror.

And that was the candle of hope within me.

Shivangee Dasgupta