At this very moment, there must be over a billion of us all over the world, rigorously washing our hands for twenty full seconds! But, ask yourself, what you are washing away?
Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth, bearing a ‘deathlike stare’, wearing a flowing night-dress that reminded some reviewers of a shroud, walked in agony every night with ‘feverishly writhing hands,’ only still when they were held for a long moment to the candle. And what did the candle show? A huge blood stain to the audience. A murderous bloodstain that all the washing in the world could not take away!
Or Pontius Pilate, looking at an innocent Jesus, asked for a bowl of water, washed his hands in front of the crowd and shouted. "I am innocent of this man's blood!"
Two people, one fictitious, one real, trying to wash their hands, off innocent blood!
Whose blood stains are you washing from yon hands of thine?
The stains of doctors, who you have conveniently pushed to the frontline, showering them with helicopter petals, but equipping them with nothing but cheap coronavirus masks and suits, even threatening them with disqualification? They the brains of this country, being treated like dispensable garbage, while we stay at home, and ‘wash and wash and wash?’
Whose stains are you washing away?
Those of your dhobi, who diligently washed and pressed your shirts or salwars these last few decades, who now trudges home with crumpled clothing, mouth dry with thirst, arms which held heavy coal iron, now weary holding his child? Besides him walks the one who laid your pipes to give you running water to wash those hands of yours, and the mason, who waterproofed your roof so the monsoon deluge will not spoil your warm domain!
They walk, these newly clubbed, ‘migrant labour’ back home, to where they hope their families will not wash their hands off them. Like you did!
Whose stains do you wash away?
Those of the jobless, the aged, the lonely, the fearful? Who wait for a word of encouragement, for someone to show them the light of hope at the end of this Covid tunnel?
At this very moment, there must be over a billion of us all over the world, rigorously washing our hands for twenty full seconds!
You are not Lady Macbeth nor Pontius Pilate…..NOT YET…If you can hear the cries of our doctor warriors, asking to be better equipped, of those walking home, and the poor at your doorstep. If you can hear the cries of those who need your time, or just your soothing voice, then same bloody stains that hold fast to Mrs Macbeth and Pilate’s hand, will wash easily away with soap and water!
Otherwise, like her, bearing a ‘death like stare’ you may weep Shakespearean lines, “will these hands be ever clean? The smell of blood won't be gone even with the perfumes of Arabia!” And then add mine, ‘Not even if they’re washed a million times twenty seconds ..!’(Published on 11th May 2020, Volume XXXII, Issue 20)