A Theatre and A Stage

Arya Mohapatra

The street is busy, with
Care-free, endorsing specks of sweat flying
From a colourful band of brown-clad labourers, with tight, dusty trousers,
Giving out odours of cement and cheap liquor;
Their grey booted feet, with cracks and stitches make me cringe at my own Pumas,
And I want to turn and snap at their drunken, shady comments
Tell them that I am not everybody, so shut up.
I won't. They work for hours under the scorching belly of the sun,
The heat inflaming their hunger into something else, something else which could be
the anger at the injustice that they face every day,
But they have no morals; filled to the brim with ideas advocating for faster and
greater changes.
They drink in the evenings, on a hot, empty stomach and puke out their tiredness
into words, onto pavements, roadside bins, on dogs.
The street is their theatre, their idea of a free-for-all stage, and they are the
suffering playwrights and actors, pounding on the tiles, which they had spent
spitting moments putting together.
They are the creators of the crow caws, and axles, of a hundred metre road which
takes a whole day to construct, their feet being the first footprints on the new path.
And I cringe again the way my car speeds on the concrete, without a second's
hesitation, like an x-ray which travels through skin and bone, without any need of a
The street is busy, with
The lullabies of a gaunt man, who holds his dying daughter on his chest and gently
rocks her to sleep.
He is a daily wage earner, like the band of high labourers, but with no aspirations for
a change, no strength left for feeling enough to fight;
He wants a pillow and a blanket at night, so that his daughter doesn't die in the cold
of the approaching dark, but all he has got is a lone wreckage for her,
But not enough to cure her of her dyslexia and anaemia.
I play his strengths to my life, but
The street is busy, with
A lone observer who I wish I could say, is me.


  • Wow, this honestly gave me goosebumps. The details make it all the more realistic. So, so well done. Power to you!!

    Trisha Rath
  • This was a beautiful poem on street life! Keep writing, young poet💙

    Aparajita Mohapatra
  • It exhibits your distinguishing features of critical thinking…….. keep it up young talent!

    Narendra Sahoo
  • Awesome Poetry, Arya! Keep up the wonderful work! (:

    Naisha Mishra
  • Such a realistic poem and very mature way of writing ! It reminds of Sarojini Naidu’s poem ‘Street Cries’ , with a modern touch in it . The poem threw light on one of India’s major drawbacks that is poverty . Keep it up Arya and I wish you best of luck !

    Nandini Rath

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