She woke up crying
For the fifth time, tonight
I gathered her in my lap and put the bottle into her mouth
At 18 months, she does not understand black money, demonetization or national interest.
Meanwhile, three men died in the queue, waiting for their daily share
Of 2000 rupees, which would pay for their roti, dal and, maybe, an odd cigarette.
The newspapers were quick to note that one of them was a heart patient.
A habitual patient.
No different from a habitual offender, who, perhaps, deserved to die.
No one bothered to clarify.
Going to a doctor for a second opinion was not worth the time
That could be spent in the long queue outside the ATM.
And then, there was the small matter of the doctor’s fee,
Which could not be paid with the money that could pay for bread, eggs, tomatoes and beans.
Not onions. Onions were cheap. The retailers would not buy them from the farmers.
The onions, therefore, rotted in the streets.
The 92-year-old man was found dehydrated in his upmarket flat.
He was too old to go out.
His children kept calling the neighbours
Trying to bridge the distance between time zones
Without interfering with the scheduled trips to the bank.
It was rumoured that the father of the bride had killed himself.
The wedding was in a week’s time.
Seven days were too short to exchange the money that he had saved over 24 years.
Meanwhile, my baby died.
At 18 months, she did not understand black money, demonitization or national interest.
She understood hunger.
And she knew that the bottle of sweetened water that I fed her all day, was not milk.
(Pic Courtesy: Internet)
Asma has done her Masters in Journalism and worked with several newspapers in Bangalore and Chennai. She is an activist, a full-time mother, and a sometime media consultant with several organizations.