Children On The Street

I often see street children roaming our city, unnoticed

     and indifferent to what passers-by think of them

We have grown accustomed to despising them,

             as they are to smiling it off.

One evening, when I was, wrapped in a full-sleeve sweater and a scarf,

still trembling under the intense cold,

sipping hot tea at a tea-stall on a pavement,

     some street children, half-clad, are sporting about

along the street almost unpedestrianed

   with a deflated football they might have collected from somewhere

   with wondrous delight the children living under strong roofs

find themselves alienated from.

That evening I could not help feeling compassion for them,

   thinking about their mothers who left them wandering

     the streets aimlessly through the intense cold.

   Then and then another thought dawned upon me:

   their parents are living on the pavement with them

     and have habituated themselves and them as well

     to the intensity of wintry cold and of summery heat

     and to lemon-squeezing the utmost delight out of it.

                                                                                   ~Dr. Bhaskar Roy Barman

                                                                                   Agartala, India

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