Your enemies can do it, your friends
can do it to you. Your driver,doctor
neighbour, neighbourhood shopkeeper
your uncle, your priest, your teacher
anybody can do it to you. A-n-y body.
They can do it to you anywhere –
at bus stops, public parks, city toilets
in cinema halls, sanctum sanctorums
of temples, of churches, of mosques
at home or workplace, within or without
on your way back from school or office
or on your way to your school or office
They can do it to you anywhere, anytime
in broad daylight, dawn or night, or at twilight
when you are entering a river to wash yourself
or going behind the bushes to relieve yourself.
Yes, it can happen to you anytime, anywhere –
whether you are a Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Christian
whether you are in a suit or saree, burquah or salwar
whether your eyes are black, blue, hair brown or blonde
whether you kneel down daily before your dearest Lord
or count your beads standing knee deep in water
whether you accept, ignore or refuse a lift or joyride
on the way to your office or school or marketplace.
I know it for certain, for I can still tremblingly hear
that heart-rending shriek resounding from the rear
seat of a white city bus with tinted dark windows
where six men suddenly turned into a pack of wolves
on a hungry December night in Lyuten’s cold Delhi
and fell upon a clothed frail mass of bones and skin,
devouring the flesh, then removing the entrails
before dumping leftover for the dogs on roadside
and I know it can happen
anywhere anytime to you.
And… it can happen to you in any possible manner
from the front or behind; from both front and behind
in singles or doubles, in groups of four, six or a score
in front of your aunt, mother or granddaughter
or along with your aunt, mother or own daughter
you know it can happen anywhere to you.