Her little feet trod the dusty road
Eager to explore the neighbourhood
And she led me down the street,
Her gentle fingers clasped in mine.
Everything she found fascinating
The cows that dined from the garbage cans
The homeless dogs that ran hither and tither
The crows that flew in from nowhere and sat
On the electric poles, making the ugliest noises.
Instantly she took to the hawker
Who was selling bangles of glass,
Her attention captured by their jingle.
She kneeled down to take
A closer look at a black beetle
That stood out in the dirt.
I was getting rather bored
And my mind started wandering
Away from the dull grey buildings
Which made the city a concrete jungle.
Then it was my mind sprouted wings
And flew away to my distant home
Where squirrels chattered merrily on mango trees
Butterflies flitted among the flower laden shrubs
Grasshoppers jumped from one blade to the next
And lilies weaved a stocking for the goosberry tree.
She would have all these friends for herself
As in a fairy tale she would roam forever
Picking up flowers at will.
She would listen to the nightingale’s song
Her eyes wide with wonder.
She’d have the time of her life
Baking little round cakes of mud.
What was she even doing here,
Walking down this road bustling with traffic,
And flanked by stinking drains?
Her soft feet deserve a carpet of roses
And not an unforgiving layer of urban dirt.
I had lost myself in thoughts such as these,
When I felt a tug on my fingers.
And I saw her point up through the twilight
To the luminous silver disc hanging in the sky
And exclaimed to me with glittering eyes,
“The Moon! Look at the Moon!”
I looked at the moon,
But again back at her face,
That was filled with joy and wonder.
And I couldn’t help but feel
Haunted by a strange irony-
Here was something which was the same
Whether she was walking down a dirt road
Or a meadow in full bloom.
Once again I looked at her,
Her face glued towards the moon.
Then took her hand and started walking back.