Don’t Send Me Another Memo

The page is back under my control… Am posting something that has been with me for a while. And forgive the spacing between some of the lines.. I am trying to figure it out :/

It has been a while. The kids have been shot and they have been buried. We have since moved on. Sydney, Paris and Pathankot, innumerable natural calamities have grabbed our headlines and eyeballs. But the causes and the results are the same. To twist Sartre’s words around a bit, ‘Everything is different yet nothing has changed.’

We still forget that religion is not a path that we walk on. It is not even our destination. It is the light that we carry in our hands to show us the way, as we walk the path to our destination.

How can anyone decide that the light they carry gives them the right to extinguish someone else’s life and light.

This poem was written in December 2014.

Don’t send me another memo…
another forward.
Every time a bomb blows up
Twitter explodes.
Every time kids are chewed up
by bullets
fired by terror mongers and psychos
Facebook posts come alive.
‘It could have been our kids!’
‘We are so lucky!’
‘This is so sad!’
‘I feel so bad!’
‘What can one do?’
‘The world has gone mad!’
Just please STOP!

Remember Beslan. Beslan!?
You say the word out loud…
The fingers of your mind
Stretch and reach…
Yeah… it sounds familiar!
Where is it?
That is what is going to happen
to Peshawar… To Utoya
You think you will not forget.
Or that school in the US…
Hook something
Oh I forgot the name!
But those poor babes!

You know what we can do
With all our collective feel bads?
Not for polite company
the answer to that.
We tweet, post and whatsapp
And…. we are done with it…
Our duty done.
Until the next tragedy hits.
And here we go again….
‘It could have been our kids!’
‘We are so lucky!’
‘This is so sad!’
‘I feel so bad!’
‘What can one do?’
‘The world has gone mad!’
STOP!For heaven’s sake!
What can we do?
You ask…
Here’s what…

Don’t bad mouth
your Muslim neighbour.
Don’t laugh at the rituals
of your Hindu neighbour.
Treat the Christian and the Jew as one.
Don’t just preach…
But practice.
Not just in front of your kids…
But everytime.

Make them see the turban,
the beard and the veil…
for what it is.
A representation of someone’s faith,
not a threat to your belief!!
Stop huddling together and
flinching away from strangers.
Open your eyes.
Open your mind.
Open your heart… please.

I refuse to mourn.
To shed another tear.
Because tears are so fickle…
shed and wiped.
And then the inevitable moving on.
I refuse to feel bad.
My feeling bad is not worth
even half a cent.
I refuse to join a candle lit vigil,
or mouth platitudes.

But what I will do
is to teach my child…
That be you a Hindu or Mussalman
Be you a Sikh or a Jain
A Christian, Buddhist or Jew…
Don’t think it doesn’t matter!
It matters!
The language is different
but the message from
this tower of Babel
is the same.

Keep your colour in mind….
White, black, brown, yellow…
It is what makes you unique
It is also what makes you different.
And different is not bad,
it is interesting.

Stop brushing our differences
under the rug.
Rather dust it and address it.
I will stop walking
on fucking egg shells
When discussing religion, God,
faith, love, homosexuality and gender.
I will teach my child that
true peace lies
hand in hand with honesty
and courage.
And sometimes the bravest thing
we will be called upon to do
in our entire life will be to
quietly say “I don’t agree”
or “it’s not right.”
when faced by peer might

And while I teach my child all this
I will pay attention
and try to imbibe.
Practice what I preach…
Be a part of the human tribe.
‘What can you do?’
you still ask me!!?

15 thoughts on “Don’t Send Me Another Memo

  1. Hi Binu
    Powerful poem. I felt volumes. I am teaching a social justice course. Would u mind if I used your poem in my class. I want my students to think and feel. Can u please let me know?


  2. Hi Binu,
    Good to read your thoughts on all the mayhem that goes on around us in the name of religion and caste and race. The poem is raw and powerful. And yes, we must speak up. we must make our voices heard.
    I am of the opinion that whatever you teach a child when she/he is young is what they tend to follow and believe in blindly. Therefore it is not fair to bring up a child in a particular religion. Children should be brought up with values- honesty, compassion, being loving, kind etc…When they are old enough to be able to understand and differentiate between the teachings of religions, they could be exposed to them and make their own choice. Very difficult for it to be followed I know since no religion would permit it. After all , all the brainwashing is done when humans are young and tend not to ask questions. That is the basic premise of religion…they do not want a world full of agnostics and atheists…which would be the result if humans are allowed to grow up without being brainwashed in their early years 😛


    1. Hi Diana! How are you? Thanks for taking the time out to read and comment :).
      In an ideal world yes, children should be allowed to make their own choice or maybe allowed to follow multiple religions. Which is what I think most of us end up doing. I am Hindu by birth and love old temples for their architecture, churches and Gurudwara for the peace and silence, and mosques cause a part of is a sufi I think and I love the symbolisms attached to it all. And I have prayed and continue to pray in all these places. I also pray on mountainsides and on beaches.
      The way religion is practised today, in an exclusionary manner… I am not even sure we need religion. But when it is practised keeping mysticism, magic, lore and Sufism and love in mind… it can make one’s heart soar. My take on religion of course :).
      Religion as an institution is as bad as an authoritarian regime don’t you think? It tells you what to think, feel and believe in. I’d rather make my own choices… be it whether I need religion or which religion or all of them or none of them, do I believe in God or not, is there a great unimaginable force at work or is it just a scientific theory that will be explained in its entirety in a few decades. I don’t know… I don’t care to be honest.
      It all comes down to what I tell Sakshi when she asks me if Santa and fairies are for real. I tell her, that it is her choice. If she wants to believe then they are real. If not, then they never existed. So she asked me ‘Do you believe in them?’ And I said, ‘Yes, I do. I have never seen Santa or a single fairy, pixi or elf. But I shall continue to believe that they exist in some part of this world or universe in the hope that one day I will get a glimpse. And if not, well that is alright too… cause this is one belief that only gives me comfort and pleasure and joy. So why not?’
      Sorry this has turned out to be a long and rambling reply. I am not even sure if I made myself clear, but basically what I was trying to say is, ‘I agree.’ 🙂


  3. Hi Binu, the poem grabbed my attention in the first two lines and grabbed my heart by the fifth. Everyone has thoughts. Penning those thoughts into words is no mean feat. You are doing it beautifully. I have taken a print out of this and given it to my son. Coincidentally we had been discussing about religion this evening and your poem helped me answer a few of his questions. So thank you very much. And have forwarded it to a few of my friends too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Suvika Thank you! I got my WordPress annual blog report and that is when this message from you came up! Almost 11 months after you wrote. Apologies.
      Thanks for your kind words. And I am always happy when people share my writing :), and even more so when it encourages a discussion.
      Will also take this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year!


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