Election Section


By Roopa Ramamoorthi
Friday December 21, 2007

The flood waters rising in Bihar and Bangladesh threaten 

‘Enter if you dare’ 

The Brahmaputra River is furious 

The farmers’ food grains destroyed 

Corpses floating, epidemics spreading 

No scented Japanese cotton kerchiefs here 

to keep away the stench, no lipstick to dab the edges of 

Unleashed dogs bark brokenheartedly 

“Bitch,” I think, not of the dogs but of that life 

While I watch the BBC world news on TV 

The only channel which covers the Third World floods for 

more than a passing line between Paris Hilton’s pranks  

and Iraq, Iraq and more Iraq and Barry Bonds 

756th Home Run 


I dream of visiting Mount Kailash—Shiva’s abode 

with my father, dipping in the turquoise truth 

of Lake Mansarovar 

But all around on TV I only see the turquoise green fear  

engulf the famished villagers 

Scrambling for higher ground 


“Time goes to Timbuktu”  

my thatha told me when I was four before I knew about death 

He told me that my other grandfather had gone 

to Timbuktu for a very long time 

But how can these parents be shielded  

When parasites have bloated their children’s bellies 

Hollowed their babies’ eyes before they die? 


My mother died, I suffered a stroke 

I felt my sanity forsake me 

For some time my ability to think and feel deserted me 

And sometimes my husband rants for no reason 

But then I see these people on TV 

and my life seems like a Five Star Fiesta in comparison 

Do I still have a right to complain? 


In school I learned the lines “It was love that made us 

and love that saved us” 

But no one can bring the dead back to life  

But couldn’t one less mother in Bihar see her daughter die? 

Can’t help arrive to move to higher ground?