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Mainstream, VOL LX No 13, New Delhi, March 19, 2022

For Naveen, In Ukraine | Sagari Chhabra

Friday 18 March 2022, by Sagari Chhabra


When my child was born,
I named him Naveen – new –
a gift of peace to the world.
When he wanted to study
at Kharkiv, I agreed,
thinking he would return
with a medical degree;
little did I know of geopolitics;
the decision of Putin to bomb a land,
besiege an entire people,
who at first taped their windows with glass,
then huddled in subways, aghast;
sans food, water,
even medicines for the old;
I had thought we had sold
primitive warfare for the global highway,
but all we got was aerial bombing,
bullets and the relentless march of an army
with boots and armoured suits,
into Ukraine!
I went quite insane,
trying to get my boy out,
but the advisory was not to flout
the norm, we must observe due form:
Russia would never harm Indians,
we were after all, Russo-Hindi bhai bhai
and were they not forever singing,
‘mera joota hai Japani
par dill hei Hindustani’?
Then there was a call;
A lady who said,
‘there is a lad;
we are very sad,
but we are calling from the morgue’;
then I could hear no more.
O, how do I fill the silence
of my heart
and tell you your violence
has taken away
my desire to live;
just give,
me my son back,
take back your missiles,
your geo-political order,
instead of my boy
you gave me shells, blood and mortar.
I ask the United Nations
And the world security council
and all the men with beards and brains,
how can you proffer wise counsel
and look away with such disdain?
is my child only collateral damage
In your age of metaverse;
O, why does the situation
get worse and worse?

Sagari Chhabra
March 2022

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