Another Faceless Story

She taps the windowpane and grins
A toothless, shrivelled crone
But as he shrinks inside his car
She points, she’s not alone
The babe in arms who’s standing by
Gets that pre-planned gesture,
And shows the side he needs to see,
The stump beginning to fester
He turns away self-consciously
Repelled, looks for cash
He’s too slow, the lights change,
He’s late, he’s got to dash.
And hey, no one cares
And hey, no one dares,
It’s quite a lonely, lonely place
And hey, no one hears
And hey, there’re no tears
She’s just an empty, empty face
She taps the windowpane, he grins
He expects that withered face
Instead, he sees unseeing eyes
Staring vacant into space
But as he stares, caught unawares
She points, she’s in a troupe,
She’s the only one with a tongue
In their wretched little group
He hurries to get out his purse,
But the moment is soon gone
He’s too slow, the lights change,
They’re left behind forlorn
And hey, no one cares
And hey, no one dares,
It’s quite a lonely, lonely place
And hey, no one hears
And hey, there’re no tears
She’s just an empty, empty face
She taps the windowpane, he’s set
He smiles and offers money
The policewoman takes out her pen
‘Do you think you’re being funny? ’
He apologizes…hesitates,
‘There was this group of three? ’
The cop points to the brand new sign
“Beggars, now history.”
He wants to ask about that child
The women, blind and hoary,
He’s too slow, the lights change
They’re another faceless story.
And hey, no one cares
And hey, no one dares,
It’s quite a lonely, lonely place
And hey, no one hears
And hey, there’re no tears
She’s just an empty, empty face…

(April 2006, New Delhi)

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