The teacups are the prized possessions
Of my grandmother’s china collection
They entrance me with their fragility
And lure me into thinking immortality is a blessing.
The gold rimmed cups make an appearance
When someone pays us a visit,
They come out on a throne- a plastic floral tray
Filled with tea, and radiating heat.
Blue flowers encircle the handles
All that is dainty is valuable- or so I’m taught
I wonder how strong a shove it will take
For the cup to fall from the table.
They say death is inevitable
And that life is too,
Here, with the cup in my hand, I understand
What it means to stand on a precipice
If I slightly loosen my grip,
The shattering will become a future
This teacup will rush to meet.
I wonder how much of a dent
This death will make in space-time.
Inside the house of gray pebble walls,
There are rooms that showcase
All I want to run away from.
Standing on the doorsteps, is her,
A vestige of my mother,
In her new dress,
Saying the same things,
But with a gleam in her eyes,
That I don’t recognize.
On many dusks, the sky turns the yellow of jaundice,
And the walls glow with a fever of the past,
It is on such evenings,
That I try to escape her shadow,
Forever on this doorstep,
Like a welcome mat.
She is forever here and away,
Never here fully, never there whole,
Some people never find home.
Others run from the one they have.
Everyone meets on the streets.
Again, and again, this stranded-ness,
Surfaces through the silence.
I cover my ears,
While she smiles.
The town is teeming with tormented souls
Searching for salvation
In the foothills of the Himalayas.
Poor and rich alike
Kneel here on the concrete slabs
That fail to hold back the river
And the crowds
Prayers are chanted through the air,
Till the walls smell of incense
And the marigold sellers flush their flowers
Downstream, into the oblivion of the Ganges
The longer you hold your breath underwater,
The closer you get to surrendering,
Or so I’ve heard
From the wise old men that nod in disapproval,
At the ones who come up for air too fast.
People come here to wash away
Sins, and ashes of the dead they knew
Hoping for rain with all their heart
While standing knee deep in holy water.
Everyday, many drown in the Ganges
Each night the water cools to freeze their souls
And evaporates peace into the chilly air
Even the river atones its sins.
Dawn beckons the orange-clad priests
Out from their dwellings to the riverside
The time has come, for throngs of people
To feel like God is here, upon them.
The city is a metropolis that smokes 3 packs daily,
I, an asthmatic, call the pollution capital my home,
The red brick buildings are hazy now,
When winter descends along with the smog.
December in Delhi is a cold affair,
A toxic, unsettling negotiation,
Between the sky and my burning eyes.
The last decade has made Delhi unrecognizable,
Side effects of development,
Buildings spring up and tower over the trees,
Lives hasten, and the poor fade into the sidewalks,
Living amidst accumulated dust.
Some nights, it is quite a sight to behold,
The throngs of people in British made enclosures,
Reveling in the marketplace,
That revolves around the country flag.
It is here, that I begin to lose sight,
Of what this town means to me,
For it takes enough from its people
To leave them always wanting more,
Life and death all at once,
In the heart of the homeland.
The leaves have shadows that waltz with the wind
Across homes that are shrinking away from the streets
Partitions all over town make me crave a corner that is unnamed
All these by-lanes and brick walls have cut open lives
Into yours and mine and theirs
And now we have nowhere to go.
They mapped out every inch of this town,
And stole it from itself, in timely increments,
Leaving me searching abandoned parking lots,
For signs that defy the pretense lurking around the corner.
I ambushed the hillocks I grew up on,
Wondering where the wilderness went,
Taking with it, all the magic that resided,
In the stems of the forgotten wildflowers.
Now, all I see are concrete statues,
Stronger than their owners,
That frown down at me disapprovingly,
While I fetch the past to meet me here.
Sometimes the lost is never found,
But I tell myself to search anyway,
For maybe the breeze remembers,
How it used to blow through this town
I Think Again
Inhalations are made up of doubt
While hesitation is always exhaled
Onto windowpanes that have lost their shine
Amidst fingerprints that left a mark.
When change is brought about by change
I think of time, and how it leaves
I think of how each breath of mine
Gives itself over, to the past.
Maybe the wind will let me know
If I ever had a choice
Or if this was written out
On the black slate of space, eons ago
Only to be read out, eons later.
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