Where did we go wrong?

Walking down the familiar road,

I notice a frail figure walking towards me,

The smile is captivating, the aging is unmistakable,

As I near, eyes blank and mind full of questions,

She held out a hand with no fingers,

Rubbed her shrunken belly,

It was the hunger of days and,

The tempting sight of the bun in my hand,


It makes me wonder,

Where did we go wrong?


Some slumber in cosy beds under warm roofs,

She slept under the starry sky,

The warmth and chill meaning the same!

The warm tea to awaken us,

The growling hunger never gave her peaceful sleep!


It makes me wonder,

Where did we go wrong?


The four walls and sheltered roof for us,

The open space and perhaps an old shawl for her,

A home is where the heart is,

The heart makes this home for her!

Is it privilege, or is it destiny?


It makes me wonder,

Where did we go wrong?


There is always more than meets the eye,

The question I have, has not one

But answers innumerable to speak of!

Can I say education lack kept her from earning?

Can I say age is her limiting factor?

Can I say it was culture to blame?

Maybe the drugs and the habits known as ugly!


I wondered longer than I knew,

Where did we go wrong?


We fall short of human compassion,

Everyone is held by their busyness,

To stop and ponder,

Can a roof over one’s head make a difference?

Can it be more than a simple bun to share?



I wondered, it was afterall,

Us falling short of humanness,

For longer than we realised!

That is where, all went wrong!


I wonder now,

Where do we start again?


At home, where the heart is,

Go the extra mile to show compassion,

Not just to aging parents,

Also to the spouse you disagree with on everything,

Your children will learn watching you,

Your neighbours will follow you!


I wonder now,

Once we start over again,

It will no longer be the bun alone,

It will move to roofs and meals,

It will move to redefine humanness!

Not tomorrow, or the day after,

Eventually, every small step,

Towards the direction in unity,

Will move mountains across generations!


I don’t wonder now,

I know one day, it will happen,

Seeing a homeless will not happen!

Every created soul will have a home to stay!

A home where their heart is!


This article is inspired after a brief conversation with my friend while walking across the shopping quadrant. A beautiful soul himself, it was a heart stirring conversation about the homeless people we encounter and our futile individual efforts to make a lasting difference. The problem of homelessness is multi factorial and it needs more than just provision of material. An attitude of the heart to make a lasting difference in the society begins with making small changes at home, where growing children and neighbors can watch and follow. The solution of beginning with compassion is, but, the most minuscule of answers to the problem of homelessness. It needs more than that but, maybe it is worth a start.