The Cost of Living


cost of living
We live in but a small area
And yet we feel like a man in an arena.
We seem to be facing 19 tigers all at once,
Waiting with its tall chimneys ready to pounce.

Our livelihood is fishing in the river Uppanar.
But those industries were a scar
On our beautiful and bountiful river- our God.
That river, with the best fish, was endowed.

Alas! Now the tasty fish
Which was once a delicious dish
Poisons our body especially our teeth
While the fishermen here get rashes on their hands and feet.

Some of us here have a perennial cold
And respiratory problems are manifold.
The water we bathe in is yellow and saline
Because nothing else is available- only pure brine.

Some factories close down, not cleaning their wastes,
Some still dump effluents on our land and water to satisfy their tastes.
What did we do? Why should we pay
For what wrong they do to satisfy their means and ways?

Is this the cost of living
Where man from man takes without giving?
Is this the cost of living
That while we sob, they are grinning?


22 March, 2005: Sayujya, a student from KFI – The School, Chennai, visited SIPCOT Cuddalore in the first week of March. She narrates here experiences at SIPCOT through this poem.

The Cost of Living
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