Tag Archives: capitalism

Untouchable- Part 5

today
i heard my mother
fight with the maid
she’s asking for more
than we can afford to pay

our maid looked down,
and whispered about
her alcoholic husband
and her unemployed son
the daughter in law trying
harder and harder everyday
to provide for the grandchildren.

my mother asks me
why does she need to send her grandchildren to private school?
the fees is so high, she says
we could barely afford it.
why is our maid
hoping to get her grandchildren
into the private school we went to?

my mother
reprimands me
when i drink starbucks
but not when i
take a loan
for private school
the more you pay
the more you get back
better jobs, better life.

but my mother
asks my maid
who is begging for a higher wage
why she needs to send
her grandchildren
to private school.
Part 5/7

Untouchable- Part 1

bombay
the whispers echo
through the front yard
as I brush my teeth
in front of them.

she’s come from bombay
they whisper with reverence
with a feverish glow in their eyes
and chapped lips parted
a grin directed at me
with their loving, reverential gazes.

eppo ethi? when did You reach?
they ask me
as I rinse
not knowing what to tell them.
my mother taught me not to talk to strangers
but what about strangers from home?

they buy their milk
from our touchable cows
that they take care of
they but their curd
from our touchable vessels
that they wash
they buy rice
from our touchable fields
that they plough.

they thank us
tell us we’ve saved their lives
by letting their children
in our touchable schools
with their untouchable money
that we paid them
for cleaning
our touchable cows
our touchable vessels
our touchable cars
our touchable house
our touchable kitchens
with their untouchable hands

Bombay
they whisper
an unviable dream
(for them)
that came true
(for me)
because they cleaned me
with their untouchable dirtyhands
when I was born
when I was dirty

they buy the milk
and empty the vessel
clean it up
and push it away
to the touchable side
and go back
to protecting
and feeding
our touchable cows
with their untouchable hands
This week, I’m going to publish a series on Untouchability in India. Here’s Part 1/7. 

It’s of course just the way I’ve seen it around me and nothing concrete/universal.