Crossing the Rubicon
by Vandita Dharni

The lockdown happened quite unexpectedly
however, it has impacted our lives
making us rethink and restructure our lifestyle
so that we can perceive the intricacies of life and people
around us that make a difference.
There have also emerged
philanthropists fortuitously who strive
to create a positive atmosphere,
to serve and serve wholeheartedly
and render help and emotional support to families
sans jobs, sans homes and sans health services.

Pascal, a dear colleague of mine has brought relief to hundreds,
He is undeterred by the green, orange and red areas
that cause a clear divide—
between certainties and uncertainties
between faith and doubt
and between indifference and compassion.

Igniting hope amidst adversity,
he serves tirelessly in the farrago of
rehabilitating the less fortunate,
replacing grief with cheery smiles
and all this is done in his inimitable style.

Every conceivable area in Mohali is mapped
for mass distribution of food, medicine and masks,
jobs are procured for those with
no means of sustenance let alone safety gear.

Finally, there’s hope and a reason to smile
albeit Covid-19 that is still rampant
and it is heartwarming to know that
life will go on with a bang and not a whimper
as the tireless Samaritan crosses the rubicon
only a few would attempt

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Pascal Daniel’s photograph was clicked outside Phase 7 Mohali by a co-worker and is used by permission. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Pascal Daniel is a colleague and works as an educator at St. Stephen’s School in Chandigarh (India). His relentless effort at rehabilitating people during these perilous times has been remarkable and praiseworthy. He along with the “Mohali Helpers,” a voluntary organization focused and engaged in rehabilitation of the downtrodden, started their mission on March 21, 2020. They were instrumental in each day distributing 500 packs of cooked meals and 200 packs of rations. They covered areas like Jagatpura, Burali, and Kambali villages and Phases 1, 5, and 7 in Mohali. They also delivered medicine to people with health issues who contacted them, as they were afraid to venture out of their homes for fear that they might contract the virus. AT the Mohali Railway Station, they  distributed more than 1000 packages of food to laborers boarding trains to return to their villages. These laborers were bereft of livelihood, as they had been retrenched by their employers who could not offer remuneration due to lack of funds.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Vandita Dharni is an acclaimed poet, scholar and, a gold medalist from the University of Allahabad, India. She has a Ph.D.  degree in American Literature from the same university. Her articles, poems, and stories have been published in many journals, including Criterion, Ruminations, GNOSIS, HellBound Publishing House, as well as International magazines such as ImmaginePoessiaSynchronised Chaos, Poleart Albani, Sipay, Fasihi, and Guido Gozzano. Her books include The Oyster of Love,  Rippling Overtures, and Quintessential Outpourings, and she is the proud recipient of the Poetic Galaxy Award 2018, the World Poetic Star Award 2019, and the Rabindranath Tagore Award 2020. Her work recently appeared in Our Poetry Archive.