This is a poem written by Sangeeth Ibrahim, based on a short story written and published by Prof. Ibrahimkutty which is in turn based on a true incident. Amaan Iqbal Ibrahim (son of the former and grandson of the latter) had won a prize by reciting this at the school recitation competition in 2008.
On my last birthday
Filled with cakes and balloons adrift;
My parents took me to a school
With food packets and gifts.
A hundred kids ran around
Sweating in the summer heat;
Ruffled hair, no uniforms
And most of them bare feet.
In single line, as a gong struck loud
They filed in with their mates;
Settled upon the bare ground
With their empty metal plates.
In shock I saw their closet rooms
As the warden took us around;
Dark alleys and silent glooms
With tattered beds abound.
“Why don’t their parents take them home?
Have they erred to be punished”?
To mama I asked in a shocking tone
Chocking and anguished.
“None shall come to fetch them dear
Ever through this open door;
To quell their fears and wipe their tears
Their parents are no more”.
With trembling lips, I asked my dad
“When do they have Birthdays?”
“When someone somewhere care to share”
He softly conveys.
Every night since that fateful day
For the orphans I do pray;
And safely save every dirham away
For our next birthday.