A tired and angry retired man,
Who wakes up each morning with a broom,
To sweep the roads just outside his room.
So strange are the ways in this town
That all those who wander about
Call him senile and quite mad,
It’s okay for those who pee on walls and trees though; they aren’t bad.
Oh, the ones that water the trees and plants
For the environment, they do their little dance;
Mobile phone in one hand telling clients about this wonderful nation,
The other hand bringing up the zipper, after hanging up on the call of nature!
Hanging up, that’s a pun indeed!
So used to them now, no one pays any heed,
Of those piles of garbage and used diapers of so many babies,
I could say worse, but hush! I am a lady!
Hah! You saw me wink just now!
And all you can do is smile a bit hollow,
You know you’ve cursed the litterers,
Only to throw into the growing pile, another chocolate wrapper!
Isn’t that what most of you are trained to do,
Clean your own house and garden, but make a mess in the neighbor’s loo,
Why talk of only the neighbor,
On public transport, you put up an embarrassing display, huh?
A son whose mother insists he uses the restroom
Is instead taught by his father, “Why don’t you check out this crack in the wall; there’s room.”
They say it’s a man’s world, just cos he can pee standing up
And that – wherever he pleases, and then he zips up!
Bitter am I? But he curses when there’s gum stuck on his shoe
On the way to an important meeting, that too!
Turns out the gum was thrown there by his son,
To whom he had once said, “If you can’t find a dustbin, just throw it far and run!”
There you go slapping your forehead for all you care,
Say there’s not a thing you can do but despair,
Maybe instead of pointing fingers, you could start by helping the retired mister,
Instead of calling him crazy, loudly cheer on a public “nature-call-whisperer”!
This poem has been written for http://greatindian.timesofindia.com/.
In the year 2009, I moved to Bangalore and lived in a then-peaceful (now unbearably crowded) area called BTM 2nd Stage. There was an old man in my neighborhood, who woke up early in the morning just to sweep the little roads outside his house. All the other neighbors called him crazy, and I always wondered why is a man called crazy in India if he cleans the roads, but considered normal if he makes a mess! He is the inspiration behind the first and last stanza of this poem.