Pervasive Pandemic

Long Italian vacation,
Deliberately tanned skin,
Taste of delectable polenta
And tiramisu still persists on tongue.
First-class airplane seat and service.
But pungent smell of garbage invades
Nose as feet touch homeland.
Ordinary Ola taxi.
A cough not covered.

Grooving to nineties hits,
Steering wheel, car AC,
Broken English with an accent
Greets foreign faces every day.
Impatient honks and road rage,
Naps on a slanted seat,
Aching back and apathy
Towards the youth in the backseat.
A lethal sneeze.

Group of friends ready to party,
Sequin dresses and Old Monk breath,
Striving to melt worries greater than
A failed test and heartbreak
With loud music and strangers’ lips.
Adulterated shots of vodka
And neon disco ball shades,
Attractive boy with messy hair.
A meaningless kiss.

Sunday morning mass,
A reaffirmation of faith
After a regrettable night.
Unending supply of hugs
For family and friends,
Sunday school students’ storyteller,
Biblical parables made interesting
For curious little ears to listen.
An incorrupt high five.

‘Chota Bheem’ lunchbox
With cold, pasty Maggi,
EVS classes and English notebooks,
‘Uma Joshi, hey hey hey’,
Strict Maths ma’am,
Red pen strikes and stains,
Stuffed in a tiny Omni,
Back to apartment, friendly watchman,
An affectionate handshake.

In a city that is now home,
Small town boy with big dreams,
Now a man in a blue uniform,
Watching over apartment entrances.
An instrumental component of
The Anthropological Ecosystem.
Two kids to feed with minimal income
Despite a wife with two jobs.
Sinful intimacy.

The tale of a forlorn woman,
Stitching clothes and crocheting,
Also scrubbing toilets while
Changing adult diapers.
The former, a passion; the latter, a compulsion.
Sleepless nights, growling stomach.
Hearing stories of old women’s heydays
And laments about ungrateful children.
A clean touch turned malignant.

Painful joints and swollen feet,
Asthmatic lungs and hunched back,
The affliction of senility is endured.
Abandoned amma in a vridhashrama.
Fits of cough and fever attack,
An inglorious end to a legacy life,
As a minuscule, not-even-live entity
Takes over humanity.

Vismayi Lanka is an aspiring journalist who aims to make the world a better place.

Featured image credit: Pariplab Chakraborty