The Hustle

This poem was in part a reaction to an earlier post published on LiveWire titled ‘Indian Law Firms and Burnt-Out Meat Robots: Savagery at Its Finest’.


It’s been a while
Since I’ve cleaned
The bathroom mirror,
That greets me every morning.
As I scratch the grimy surface
And spray some blue cleaner,
It shines, looking squeaky clean and new.

But what it reflects is a stranger,
A mere shadow at best
Of my former self.

My luscious chestnut brown hair
Now has roots of grey,
My forehead sports a perpetual frown
As if searching for whatever’s amiss,
And my deep seated eyes seem to say,
But you signed up for the hustle!

Half my life, as I know it
Has passed before my eyes;
While I’ve given up the joys of my todays,
For the fleeting chance of a better tomorrow.
I’ve lost many a friendship to distance
And trips to mountains and oceans
Have had to wait,
Because my board meetings wouldn’t.

But as I smile, reminiscing my former glory
Noticing the laugh lines and crinkly eyes,
I wonder if I really seek another chance –
A chance to stop to smell a daisy,
A chance to lean on another shoulder,
A chance to relive my girlhood,
A chance to do it all differently.

And then, like the fog that clears
Off a mirror, with the mere
Brush of a hand,
I let the fog lift from my faculties.
And brush it all off, thinking
It’s simply impending senility
Masquerading as a childish fantasy.

For, on some days
You need only to be reminded,
Of why you started
To hustle in the first place.

You didn’t dream
For it all to be written off,
I remind myself;
And neither did your family.

You didn’t build sandcastles in the air.
You didn’t walk into a room full of men,
Only to have them acknowledge
Your pretty face or
Your severely tailored suit.
You weren’t raised to be docile
And compliant, going gently into the night.

You have your mother’s resilience,
And your father’s stubbornness.
The man you admired secretly from afar,
Is who you wake up to, every morning.
As to a vista of the ocean,
That had once seemed so elusive.

Whoever said, money can’t buy happiness
Has never ridden a Harley, untamed –
Letting the wind dry their tears,
When their pillows were soaked.

Would I have done it differently?
Probably not.
For, when the day of reckoning
Were here, and I were weighed,
Would I be found lacking?
Most certainly not.

For they say, hustle until
You no longer have to.
While I say, hustle because
Your life knows no other way.

Andrea Kent is a 29-year-old lawyer working at Lower Parel, Mumbai, for one of the largest law firms in India. While she genuinely believes that law is a noble pursuit, necessary to sustain life, literature and art are what she truly lives for.

Featured image credit: Pariplab Chakraborty