They are God-like,
as they look down grimly,
from the banner, in which their pictures
are arranged, with percentages that
have reached the limit.
The limit is a 100% but,
I look at the banner,
with a feeling of premonition –
there could be a 101% perhaps?
You never know,
what humans could be made to do.

I read the banner,
“You can be the next one!”, it says,
and I know I can’t.
The knowledge grows inside me like a dead weight,
the darkness grows and seeps,
into the bags under my eyes and the
steely glint of frayed determination manifests itself, and
turns me into the machine that goes on and on, mechanically.

I ignore the weeds sprouting in my soul,
in tufts, until everything is covered.
In the sea of blackness,
hurling away my doubts, my fears, my love, my joys, my humanity-
until I forget to pause and wonder if I could be like them,
because I know I am like them,
life hasn’t given me another option.

Maliha Iqbal is a high school student from Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh.

Featured image: Pexels