The Golden Door

When I visit a friend,
I usually carry a bunch of flowers,
glorious and garden fresh,
exotic, enchanting,
each piece unique,
specially handpicked,
with a little card tucked below
with a message:
‘Where flowers bloom, so does hope’.
This has been a habit for years
My own little way of spreading love.

Like all others,
who come from elitist pastures,
obsess about their immaculate lush gardens,
my eye, too, has always been on the end product,
not the processes.
I kept buying flowers,
more and more,
colourful, vibrant, myriad,
not realising that even though flowers continue to bloom,
hope doesn’t.

Unmindful, unaware,
completely oblivious of the fact that
the flowers that adorn our homes,
that fill our expensive vases,
flowers that we gift each other
to mark every occasion,
to usher in every season,
use ‘girl labour’
for a very special reason.
You see, the flowers are tender
and the hands that tend them
have to be as tender,
small, delicate hands of little girls,
that do not bruise the flowers in turn.

Yesterday, out of habit,
I again picked a fresh basket
but hidden in each rose,
was a small girl from the margins;
her sore fingers crying for crayons,
her tiny hands itching to hold a book
and her heart yearning for a golden door
that takes her to a land,
she has never seen before!

Sangeeta Kampani, 62, worked with the IRS and retired as a Commissioner of Income Tax, Delhi.

Featured image credit: 愚木混株 Cdd20/Pixabay