Memories of a train ride where some passengers taunted a little beggar girl.
Fading Picture of an Unknown Beggar Girl
Settling down on my seat,
For the long journey ahead to my college town,
With a book in my hand
To drown the hustle and bustle of passengers,
All along the platform, up and down.
Single dim light bulb trying it’s best to
Banish the creeping dark shadows of dusk.
Hawkers peddling their wares, shouting
To be heard over the din of multilingual sound.
A rush to the window by few fellow travellers,
Distracted me from my book.
Turned my head
What’s their object of interest,
I wanted to look.
There, extending one of her shriveled hand,
Barely reaching the window,
Tiny, little beggar girl,
May be hardly in her teens,
Tattered pieces of cloth over her distended belly,
Her malnourished body uncovered,
One hand clutching a bundle of rag to her chest,
A days old baby latched to her breast.
What demons had sacrificed
This little girl on their alter of lust?
Robbing her childhood,
Her innocence and sanity lost.
Forcing her to beg.
Oblivious to the lustful gaze of the animals
At her exposed breasts,
Her sanity long gone,
From window to window she moved,
Pitiful eyes scanning the faces inside,
Silently begging for food.
Oh, the sense of shame and guilt,
My helplessness at the behavior
Of my fellow human beings,
Unable to stop their
Lustful glances and taunts.
As I tried to get her a packet of food,
Train whistled and picked up speed.
It delivered me from my torment,
That haunting pictured etched in my mind.
The face had faded long before
The picture is slowly fading.
Even the passing of several decades
Have not erased the shame and guilt.