And so we watch and so we learn/With eyes wide for our dreams to yearn

Posts tagged ‘delhi’

New World, New Delhi

Messy, dirty, madness. Breathe.
Don’t breathe – cover your mouth, filter the fumes
Ancient carvings, airtel ads, cows and pigs roam wild 
Madness here, seeks to push you out
Who are you and why are you here?
What are you doing here, with your blue eyes and red hair
Every face questions you, follows you
Watch your back, watch your purse
But not always. Too much to see
Flashing by in the gap between flapping plastic
Three wheeled madness on unregulated roads
Too many cars, too many people
Each glimpse a question
A sewing machine being used on the sidewalk?
Rows of shiny kitchen utensils?
Piles of fruit, mysterious street food 
Unfamiliar letters painted along walls
Cricket in abandoned constructions…

You wonder at the people here.
At men wandering the streets – where are they going?
No footpaths or signs that make sense to your eyes
The girls here are mythical
Brightly coloured, draped in textures
Or exactly the same as immigrants back home
Here, you are the immigrant
Here, you are the strange one
In a world scarcely policed.
Too much to do
(Baksheesh ma’am? Chai panee please)

Humanity overflows here
Vultures selling services circle;
Hesitation? They swarm
You escape by the hands of a stranger
Kindness pushes between hands that reach out for what’s not bolted down
Tapping at your window when traffic halts
Weaving between shiny cars and men pulling carts
Pressed between sky scrapers and crumbling constructions
Life here fights, in each tangle of power lines
And the scrawny dogs who still droop with lactating teats

Order surrenders to chaos
Though not entirely, never entirely
You can feel the tide tugging, reaching to drag your feet out from under you
There are pockets though, dusted squares
Of organisation – frustration resulting in mediation
‘This inch of land is predictable!’
Proclaim the planners, the pedantic
While piles of dirt heap at roadsides
Remnants of plans forgotten 

Weeds do not exist here
The vegetation fights in armies, or not at all
Tangling and darkening undeveloped corners
Or sprawling between cement patchwork
Until you stumble across tranquility
Serenity in a room, a garden, a cafe
You almost forget what the car horns mean
Abstract notes become background ambience
Reminding you relentlessly of where you are
Reestablishing life’s motion here
Of hassle and noise and unmarked roadways

Until you stumble across beauty
Delicacy in a colour or shape or smile
Or the taste of hot chai first thing in the morning
Sweetness, like everything here, is potent
You lose track of the days and dates
Only feelings matter, only endeavours
Adventure subverts the ordinary
And turns the simplest of tasks Herculean
And the Herculean tasks reform unrecognisably
Because what else could to expect?
Within the dazzling, befuddling world
Between the drama and the dismal and the drastic
Fluctuating between gorgeous and grotesque
The capital of the country, the city of djinns
Here you are. Welcome