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HAPPY MEAL

Yes, I AM my brother’s keeper,
And of my sister too.

My sisters and I
We will see you fed;
We don’t need
To be told what it is
To have food,
And to not.

Yes, I AM my brother’s keeper
And of my sister too.

Today we will sit and eat
Together again;
And forget what it is
To have two mothers.

Yes, I AM my brother’s keeper
And of my sister too.
And tomorrow someone else
Will say this

And it will still be true.

That’s what those little ones taught me that day at the labour camp, as they sat together eating their free meal of the day at the crèche. They didn’t talk much as they ate, but every time someone smaller than themselves crawled up, a hand would automatically reach out to feed the little mouth, without a shred of hesitance. At meal-time, it was impossible to tell siblings from those who weren’t. They were all just brothers and sisters enjoying a meal together. A happy meal.

As children of migrant labourers they came from different parts of the country, and spoke different languages. Telugu mixed with Kannada as easily as Hindi blended with some other tongue. I was told that once the current contract ended and their families moved to a different camp, many of them would probably never see each other again.

But it didn’t matter. They were brothers and sisters today. And would be so, with whoever came next. C’est la vie.

Migrant labour camp, Marathahalli, October 2014
#thoughtforthursday #monochrome #greystroke #blackandwhitephotography #poetry

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