And Not Mere Tales


Sitting in the balcony he reminisced,

The unique flavour each bite he had

When his mother made him eat

With her own hands.

But now everything tasted stale.

Maybe his taste buds turned numb,

Like how his life turned colourless.

And the sad part was he couldn't get

A last glimpse. Contagious they said.

But his sorrow was his own.


They all thought about how

The whole house felt different.

Though grandpa was just sitting

On the age-old wheelchair.

But his mere presence

And those conversations they had

In the living room just made them feel

Home. But now it felt different.

And then they lived in the fear,

Of not losing one more soul,

To that invisible disease.


Life was hard for her with the

Scorns of society, of being the

Daughter of a divorced single mother,

But their world was warm,

And they lived happily.

But no longer. She never even could

Talk to her mother when the neighbors

Took her to the hospital,

Regular asthma maybe, but

Into the isolation ward she went.

And never returned.

Now all she has is just those memories,

And the kindness of the same society,

That scorned and ostracized.


And then everyone thought.

It's fine for the young people.

Maybe the oldies got to be a

Little cautious. But he was just 26,

And now no more. It's fine with youngsters,

They said. But he just went unconscious,

And then that was it.

The mother wondered now whom would

She scold to trim that long wavy hair.

The father wondered now whom would

He bug upon to go buy some insulin strips.


Yet I write it and probably you all

Read it from a still privileged corner,

While at the other end, dead

Bodies being burned in piles.

It isn't a Diwali day celebration you

Get to see from the sky view

But helplessness into which we have

Befallen. And some call it fault in

decisions, while some call it the

Artwork of a deadly disease.

But people are dying and

Guess what the irony is,

Depletion of fuel to run our lives,

Oxygen being a luxury.


Tales are many to be churned on

To a paper and to be deemed

A poem, maybe to be called a work

Of creativity. But when reality strikes,

These aren't mere tales,

But stories of people around

You and me.

And soon we too might be a part

Of these tales, strung together,

By the strings of despair.

Because unpredictable that

Is what life is hailed for.


by Albeena Stephen