Midnight, June 5
Landed in the Eternal City from Milan,
A family of three Indians, wide-eyed, exhausted.
Stuck outside the Bed and breakfast accommodation, denied access,
It is mid-night and the doors of the apartment-house are closed.
We are in a foreign city with no friends, and it chimes mid-night hour;
A sleepy city never looked so strange!
A black appears on the scene — long strides, in a tearing hurry to reach home.
Stranded — not a word anymore.
Standing on the street, bags around, while a homeless white nearby sleeps!
We stop this human coming our way,
He is all ears, presses the buzzer for five minutes, shrugs off
His broad shoulders in apology, nothing happens in the
B&B upstairs; we are stuck.
The suited stranger says Sorry!
We say a common thank you, mister!
He smiles and says: Do not worry! We are one family!
There is only kindness in his eyes, no trace of apartheid.
It can happen in Rome.