What is it that you are staring at me for?

With those eyes of yours that are like blank gaping holes

Any sign of life, I have sucked out from those eyes long ago

By naming you, shaming you, calling you a parasite, till my voice turned hoarse

 

I was rejoicing in the cover of protectiveness that your ‘parasitic’ life had thrown all around me

I had succeeded in convincing you that this was as it should have been, your ‘free will’ had merged with my destiny

 

How long could my diseased mind have survived without a diseased body though?

My ‘House of Cards’ had to someday fall – Nature was no longer ready to bear with my unabashed show

 

So, one day, from the far away lands that you couldn’t have even imagined in your dreams existed

I brought back a disease, however, the one that human existence had till now somehow missed

When it grew, and killed and spread far and wide and reached you

I freaked, and locked myself behind closed doors – to save myself I thought this was the only thing I could do

 

But when I did that, I forgot to spare even a single thought for you

You were far away from my farthest thoughts, you – who till then didn’t even have a clue

You… who had actually built those four walls for me to hide behind

You were now being told to hide too….to distance yourself….to sanitize….

 

How you were expected to do this, however, was the least of my concerns

Sharing, caring and relying on each-other – that was the only way you could survive, you had no place to which you could run

Yet, not only did I shut my doors on you

I conveniently told you to stay safe and shut them on each other also, if you could

 

And then, my duty duly discharged, I just stood by and watched

From the safety of my four walls, watched you struggle and starve

Watched you trying to make sense of the utter chaos

Greeted everywhere with closed doors, unthinking minds and long-dead hearts, you were at a total loss

 

With fear in your mind, of death and disease

I then watched you walk endless miles trying to reach some place where the infinite wounds on your minds, bodies and hearts could somehow begin to heal

The cities you had helped construct

The people whose lives you had helped build

Those very cities, those very people had now deserted you

Turned their backs on you, at a time when in most dire need of them were you

 

And yet, after all this, being a mute spectator was not enough for me

How could I just watch while you walked away blameless for the mountains of sorrow that had befallen me?

The magnanimous I, who was finally ready to throw some bits at you

Who still needed you…for that house, that workplace, that city, those people…were all falling apart without you

Your agency, your dignity, your self-respect as a human being had never found with me any favour

At the blink of an eye, I was now pleading that you be turned into slave labour

 

I am still not done watching – the show for me goes on

So, what is it that you now stare at me for?

Is there still something that you expect?

If you do, please understand carefully what it is that I am now about to tell

 

I – who shun you, blame you, call you a parasite

I – who have left you in the lurch to fend for yourself in this fight

I am actually the one whose heart and mind if they don’t mend

The life that awaits me shall be no better than a thousand deaths

 

Because there will be some place where my cruel presence shall not belong

Where you will find a way for yourself to live strong

In a world that will be built with love, care, empathy and togetherness

Far away from all this greed and selfishness

 

However, if I want to survive and continue to live from now on

It is high time I realize that I am the parasite and not the other way around.

Nivedita Dwivedi is a writer


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