I sat on my window overlooking deewaano ki Galli, in Dilwalon ki Dilli as my Dada teases me,
“Big city girl” he calls me every time I visit him in the hills,
Romanticism has often been eve- teasing here as Mother keeps repeating,
It doesn’t bother me because I get to eat gol gappe in the evenings.
There’s no romanticism today, no eve- teasing either,
There are sounds, noises rather,
Words echoing “Democracy” “Secular” “Republic”,
I know the words, I have grown up reading them in books,
Why then the words I, an 8-year-old knows, need re-iteration at such an amplitude?
If it’s such common knowledge, why then are people enraged?
Someone broke our shop today, mother asked me to hide,
It has been a few days, it’s being referred as “Delhi Riots”,
People are protesting they say,
Should I protest too? I asked mother.
Mother told me I know nothing about CAA,
I said I knew my shop; can’t I protest for my shop’s sake?
It’s bigger than you and I, I was told.
Father came complaining about his rubber slipper he broke,
Every day for months, from police station he has been running to courts.
“Compensation” “Damages” we should be paid,
Would he get a new pair of slippers too?
I insisted father takes me today, alongwith, wherever he goes,
In this “Pandemic”, I have been bored,
There is no school to go, no shop to play in,
Father caved seeing my misery,
We didn’t go to the police station today,
Went to someone’s office, white shirt and black coat he wore and spoke to someone on a screen,
Father called him “Vakeel Sahib” and joined his hand with his eyes misty,
“Bhaaisahib Covid hai, hum kya Karein?”, Vakil Sahib said repeatedly,
Disappointed we walked away and encountered police vans after vans leaving in an urgency,
“Delhi Riots?” I asked my father, “Farmer’s protest” he answered,
What’s the difference, I wondered, and “none” he muttered.
We walked past deewaano ki Galli, now silent with few masked men and women walking gloomingly,
Father’s stitched slipper seem to be breaking again,
On the news the Government declares – farmer’s protests can be spreading Covid,
Deja vu from Delhi Riots stares back at me,
“Protests being called off due to Covid-19”
Even with the home- school, I have learned new words,
Confused though I get with two phonetically similar ones,
“Pandemic” or “Panacea” for all Government despairs?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Namisha Jain is a practicing advocate at Delhi High Court and has graduated from ILS Law College. She enjoys her occasional passion for writing.