Murzban F. Shroff


The pets are happy their owners are home
They are now in their places – tied down

The wives are happy that their husbands can see
The work they must accomplish – daily

The kids are happy to be out of school
No one to blame them for playing the fool

The elders are happy that their children do care
Care enough to show they are really scared

The villagers are happy to be in their distant nook
Happy, for once, to be overlooked

The employed are happy for some unexpected leave
They are going to be paid, so why grieve?

The chemists are happy at the business they are doing
Their profits, by the hour, are soaring

The sweepers are happy swiping at an empty street
Gloves and masks do not a pandemic beat

The pandemic, meanwhile, spreads under an open sky
Not saying who will live and who will die.

0-42MURZBAN F. SHROFF is a Mumbai-based writer. His fiction has appeared in over 65 literary journals in the U.S. and UK. He is the recipient of the John Gilgun Fiction Award and has received six Pushcart Prize nominations. His short story collection, Breathless in Bombay, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in the best debut category from Europe and South Asia, and rated by the Guardian as among the ten best Mumbai books. His novel, Waiting for Jonathan Koshy, was a finalist for the Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize in New York, and has been published in India and China. His collection of digital shorts, Fasttrack Fiction, serves up a varied mix of literary nuggets for the digital reader. The poems here are from his book-in-progress: No Shades of Gray. Murzban can be contacted on murzbanfshroff at

Other work
Windows to a Storm

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