My Hunger is Concrete

I’m just a year and a half old
and am constructing this huge shopping mall.

Here I am sitting in the shade of a bush
by the side of the towering structure
to which my mother carries the mixture
of gravel and sand and cement
in a grating crater on her head.

When I’m hungry, I wail loud.
That’s when mother comes
and makes me stand on a wall,
opens her blouse,
and pops a nipple into my mouth,
her one hand behind my back
and the other holding the crater.

It’s my hunger that builds the mall.

PS. I wrote this poem some ten years ago when I watched a mother stopping to feed her child at a construction site in Delhi.  The photo was taken a few years later while walking through Bhatti Mines, a part of Delhi that has palatial ashrams belonging to godmen and also slums where people struggle to make both ends meet. 

Anyone interested in a free pdf copy of my book, The Nomad Learns Morality, is welcome to contact me. 


  1. Extremely potent! Beautifully written.

  2. It is their blood and sweat and bones and muscles that build the mall.
    Great work.

  3. Heart wrenching :'(
    Very well written.

    1. Thanks, Purba. Both the poem and photo come from real life, actual situations.

  4. Very affecting.
    It is the story of a mother who cannot afford to sit at home and watch over her little one. It is also the story of a mother who gets to take her kid to work or watch her little one while she goes about making a living.

    1. One of the many grim realities of the city. There is much more humanity in the countryside.

  5. Mother can do anything for her child....very true lines

  6. beautifully written, I liked the rawness of harsh reality in the poem

  7. Reality - harsh, bitter, unrelenting, and blind.

    1. How long will that reality last? A cry in the wilderness can start an avalanche rolling....


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