And as I heard about the building collapse in Mumbai, with sixteen dead and counting, and other concrete structures crumbling during the rains, I hear knowing voices asking, “Why do they stay in such buildings after being told it’s unsafe?” And my pen moves, sadly…
“You’ll have to move out, the building is unsafe,” the municipal engineers told her, standing at her doorstep staring unashamedly at her buxom form, as she cradled the baby in her arms.
‘Where?’ she asked silently as she quietly nodded and closed the door.
Bleary eyed she walked into the kitchen, her baby still cradled in her arm.
She was startled by the sudden tremor, the awesome rumble, then the deafening crash, as the building tumbled around her. She fell, her baby held tight in her protective hands. The dust that rose smothered her, the shrieks she heard frightened her, and then she struggled to her feet, knowing she was alive. She looked with agony at what was once her home.
The baby cried, and looking down, she saw the blood. Sticky, red stuff all over her hands, face and feet, oozing down to the broken tiles of what was once mosaic floor.
Bystanders came. They watched, curious to see whether death had claimed another victim. They surveyed the mangled wreck of what was once a living room. Now, more dead than alive, she met their stares and wondered what nightmare they beheld in her.
Her phone lay smashed on the ground, but she knew there was no one to call and no one who would call wondering if she was dead or alive, no one to cry out to and say she was battered, bruised and bloodied.
“Better dead,” she smiled grimly, looking at her lifeless phone. The baby cried, she put her hand on its little head and stroked it as she shut her thoughts away. Loneliness, grief and pain engulfed her.
The men with fancy helmets and clothes of blue looked in and saw her. Ropes were lowered and they slowly tried to pull her out. But screaming and shouting she tried not to leave the only place she could call her own.
The baby cried and tried to clutch on to imaginary walls that had been its home. The men held her down and carried her out, quietly doing their duty. Out in the open, she looked back, wanting to crawl back and hide in the only refuge, she’d ever known. Nobody heard her silent sobs.
The two municipal engineers, notebooks in hand looked down and leered at her bleeding buxom figure. She had no door to close this time on their lusty faces. ‘We told you to move out didn’t we?” they said with a sneer.
“Where?”’ she asked silently as she quietly nodded, “Even death has refused to take me in..!”
Robert Clements is a newspaper columnist and author. He blogs at www.bobsbanter.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org