The Queue To Serve The Dead

Would I know the grief in the eyes of the dejected family that lives in Kolkata?

In those broken walls live old parents who await the little bottle of oil, rice and some lentils, for a meal.

Would I know the plight of the diligent, studious boys who burnt the midnight oil for hours in preparation for an all India engineering course?
Passed the exam. Tried every job opening but went back empty-hearted and broken?

Would I know the helplessness in the queue outside the hospital in Kolkata where 8000 applicants await to get a job in the morgue? They want the job of the “Dom”, who keeps the dead?

This time, I have seen it all. The dead labourers on the railway tracks. The rotis strewn all around, trembling in fear.

The tired calloused feet of the labourers walking miles to reach home during the pandemic.

The helpless middle-class children, strangling their voices as they let their value system perish, they let go of the breathless parents to die for the lack of oxygen.

In this hell and in this dystopian universe, we have engineers and postgraduates with crushed dreams.

They are waiting in a queue to get the 6 vacant jobs of the lab assistants in the Kolkata hospital.

They are willing to stitch the dead bodies. Lock their hopes and aspirations in a box. Cover their noses from the rotting stench of flesh in the morgue.

All they do is wait for the minty fresh notes to take back to the old father, the ailing mother, or sometimes the hungry children at home.

My heart bleeds, but I know, I must bandage it from not spilling over to touch my conscience, lest I go mad with the guilt of being alive.

Would I ever know the price so many pay to live a life of dignity?

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