March 3, 2017 4:10 pm
Our noses itched.
Hum of bomber planes in the background,
Earth shuddered and a surge of air hit from nowhere,
Occasional ambulance sirens whizzed by,
The seemingly distant rattle
Clearer and nearer.
‘Have to leave’ but where to?
I knew not how I would live,
Wherever we would end up.
Brain turned inert, time ticked by.
Shuddering of the earth continued,
Panic spread: ‘Leave for safety, war rolls in’
Rushing I came out, necessities in hand,
Bundle of clothes, documents,
Didn’t realize then, this marked
The crumbling of our world forever.
A walk into the night,
The whole city unusually buzzing.
Shadows of men and women,
Old and young:
Complaints heard about the times
And the god’s indifference.
Possessions in single bundles
On handlebars and carriers of bicycles,
Hours of walking
Amidst the orchestra of explosions
Along a crowd-thronged road
Houses on either side
The next day, the road opened onto chemmani’s fields.
The endless human lines
Jostled to a stop.
Lorries, buses, carts, disoriented crowds,
Jammed, unmoving, rooted,
No one sure where to go,
Which way to travel to safety.
Salty water brimming the road on either side,
Failed to quench our thirst.
Impatient, sleepless sunburnt,
Our tears of anguish turned
The salty water saltier.
The procession moved on,
Self-styled custodians shepherding us.
Scorching sun ruthless,
Throats turning dry, water urgent.
Of a sudden rains poured.
Umbrellas turned upside down
To gather this bounty for our throats,
Wet clothes sucked dry.
Replenished, the tortoise moved on.
Yet the walk continued
Into the unknown.