I seldom ever indulge in conversations pertaining to politics,
because it's neither my expertise, nor my area of interest.
And quite honestly, the field I quite detest.
But during this lockdown,
there emerged a new breakdown.
Unlike some territories,
where they probably missed their walks and sundries.
We were given just a four hour notice,
after which the lockdown came into effect.
Nobody remembered the 150 million+ migrant workers.
Dependent on daily wages and a meagre pay,
they decided they just cannot afford in the cities anymore to stay.
After being denied any help, salary or money,
unable to pay the rent and when their stomachs churned grumpy,
all over India these rural->urban migrants,
hungry and left with mere bits and fragments.
With no public transport, lakhs of them,
With no support they took to the streets and began walking.
For thousands of kilometres while we sat safe at home just worried about our grocery shopping.
Women, children and even families on the street.
Many of them in this summer season walking bare feet.
Have you ever accidentally put your toes on hot concrete?
Those roads are scalding hot, with molten tar they compete.
The temperature right now is between 40°C to 49°C at many places.
No food, no water; can you picture their desperate faces?
They say they'd rather go home and die out there,
back to their small villages, not alone in despair.
The highways are filled with migrants walking.
What's worse is - many of them were beaten up for flocking.
Hungry stomachs with no voice.
Beaten mercilessly by the cops, by choice.
Sprayed like animals,
to disinfect them, so tyrannical.
By the time they reach the state/district borders,
they are not allowed to cross as per social distancing orders.
For those who can afford it,
hidden in essential commodity-carrying trucks,
in cement churners, they hide like sardines in a can, and duck.
Exploited by truck drivers, they pay a hefty sum,
fleeced in every way, these people renting city slums.
Their apartments are the size of a modern washroom.
And in that, five to six of them together live and groom.
It's been two months of lockdown now.
And lacks of them still walking on the streets, how?
Finally few days ago, some few trains and buses arranged for them.
But too late, for a few succumbed to death, these worthless gems.
Waiting for the trains to begin scheduled services,
they slept in between the tracks, those tiny crevices.
Not realising freight trains would still be running,
many of these people died in their sleep unaware and waiting.
All over the country, from the big cities these migrants are walking home.
Two months of lockdown, thousands of kilometres on foot they roam.
Less than a hundred rupees some of them had.
That's less than two dollars, so now some have gone rogue and mad.
Destroying the few cars they see on the way,
because they are unable to make it home and are forced to stay.
While rescue and repatriation flights started way early in the fray,
the poor migrant workers almost two months later just got a few trains and buses which were not sufficient anyway.
The roads and highways are filled with them, so many on the way.
I don't believe the numbers of positive cases are what the channels claim to say.
A unique situation.
Millions of poor wandering on the streets.
But nobody really cares.
Most people, at the headlines just stare.
We're not scared of covid-19, they say.
Hunger and heat will kill us before it does anyway.