Economics of Welfare Rice

With card in hand, she joins the queue,
Which serpentines around a tree,
To get her monthly kilos of
Unpolished rice at one rupee.

With bag in hand, she walks away
To where the grocer waits for her
And halves the bag on to his scales
To pocket thirteen rupees per.

With scales in hand, the grocer goes
To where the miller waits for him
And bargains down the two rupees
The miller tries to skim off him.

With cash in hand, the miller goes
And polishes the brownish rice
Into a whitish grain of sorts,
Which can be sold at fifty price.

With grain in hand, the miller goes
To where they do the packaging.
They seal his grain in branded bags,
Which sport the portrait of a king.

With kings in hand, the packager
Proceeds to where the grocer waits,
And, over cups of milky tea,
Dictates the share of babu seths.

With hand in hand, the grocer smiles,
Servility arching his back.
From suckers of the middle-class,
He profits twenty-five a pack.

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