i. My father comes in drunk tonight,
Like every other night
Creating a ruckus, hurling slangs
And hitting mother, like he hired her
For the sole purpose of doing so
I might as well stay hungry tonight.
ii. The one thousand eight hundred
And twenty three rupees
That mother had saved for my school
Have been spent on the funeral
On father's funeral rites
I might as well not go to school this year.
iii. Today, I married the girl
Who lives in far end of the village
But mother has thrown us out
She does not like my wife,
Because her name is Noor
I might as well have to get a new house.
iv. Four hundred and eighteen miles from home
They call it "The City of Wonders"
It has been nineteen days since we moved here
And I am yet to see a wonder
Or is it reserved only for the rich?
I might as well wait for some more days.
v. It is my fifty sixth day here
And the sun is shining bright in my eyes
I did receive my share of wonder
I have a hut, and I have a job -
Bricks, sand, cement, chips
I might as well build some houses for the rich.
vi. Five hundred and twelve days
In The City of Wonders
This place has been lucky for me
Noor is going to be a mother
And as overwhelming as it is for me
I might as well be a father.
vii. Our daughter is five
We have named her Shyaama
After my mother
I wonder if she misses me, if she's still alive
But I know she despises us
I might as well just stay quiet for now.
viii. Noor complains that all of her friends
Have new sarees for Diwali every year
But I haven't ever gifted her anything
How do I buy anything
When Seth Ji pays just a hundred rupees?
I might as well start working double shifts now.
ix. Noor has gone back to the village with Shyaama
Her father passed away two days ago
She was really furious that I did not go with them
She kept saying that I did not respect her father
But neither of my Seth Jis allowed me a leave
I might as well bear Noor's wrath.
x. Two months since Noor has been away
She said her father died of cough and fever
It felt really weird to me
The City of Wonders' sunset
Doesn't really feel as wonderful now
I might as well just miss Noor and Shyaama.
xi. They say there's a new virus in the country
I did not think it would come to our city
But today both my Seths told me that
They have to let me off my jobs
I have no idea how to break this to Noor
I might as well just disappoint her one more time.
xii. I have not seen my wife and my daughter
In nearly four months now
I have no food or money left
They are not letting me go back to my village
I do not know if I can ever meet my family
I might as well just die in The City of Wonders.