‘Gurgaon’ by Nupur Chaturvedi #TheCityasMuse Special Mention
Nupur writes for a living, but doesn’t call herself a writer yet. She has written short stories and poems, and is convinced there is a novel inside her somewhere. But for now, she is focused on her content marketing job at a communications firm. Nupur is based in Gurgaon and blogs at http://nupurchaturvedi.wordpress.com/
Comment: Gurgaon has been praised and maligned in equal measure over the last decade or so. Contradiction is essential to its character and Nupur got it just right in this poem. The “gilt and guilt” especially, swung it for her!
The wind brings in sand to scrape my eyes
When I open them again, the dust has settled
Powdered surfaces hiding the beauty that could have been
And then comes the rain
You would think it would wash everything clear
And the greens and oranges and reds would shine through.
But all the rain did was to drown everything in muck
And so, this is my city
Of expectations and disappointments
Gilt and guilt
Colours and desolation
Crowded roads and empty promises.
And yet, this is my city
My identity, my space, my future
So I must nurture this deep-set rot
In the hope that one day there will bloom
Hope, courage, beauty and love
In this, my city.
‘Karol Bagh’ by Vitasta Raina #TheCityasMuseRunners Up
Vitasta Raina is an architect and a writer. She has published a fictional novel, Writer’s Block, and a book of poems, Someday Dreams. She blogs at http://theurbanexploratory.blogspot.in/
Comment: Vitasta sent in 5 entries, all exhibiting her deep interest in the city as well as her talent with words. However, the judges were impressed by the particular emotional connect of this poem, which laments the decay of her family’s ancestral home. Along with her entry, she wrote a note that outlines the context: “My maternal grandparents migrated to Karol Bagh, New Delhi, in 1947 during the Partition of India. After my grandfather’s death, my uncle’s family moved out of the Kothi to a high-rise gated prison in Gurgaon. Upon my return to Delhi in 2013, I was miserable to see my childhood home abandoned, and the neglected squallor of our once lively mohalla. These poems are perhaps eulogies as I mourn.”
Beautiful decay, I could eat you,
split your pale brown gills,
on an autumn afternoon,
and consume your cultural layers.
You with salty crust of ageless expression,
you with the wood grains, patterns of the sea,
of micro-beads and snowflakes,
fractals of societies’ self-relieved agony,
inchoate clusters of myth-ridden mohallas,
fungal communes of local habits;
I could collect your inexistent senses,
and break down your unchanged names.
Beautiful decay, on pavements,
in small-worlds, in rotting walls of colonies
alive past their expiration date,
souvenirs of once-life, tombs for now-death.
All Rights Reserved. ( C.). Vitasta Raina
The Bangalore Bohemian’s Nash-inspired poem #TheCityasMuse Runners-Up
The Bangalore Bohemian (he prefers his pen name) comes from a family of writers and journalists; his departed dad being his early inspiration. For this poem particularly, he follows in the footsteps of the infamous Ogden Nash!
Comment: It’s hard not to smile when you read this quirky piece of writing. And so did the judges!
A BOHEMIAN FROM BANGALORE
He sets out with the poise of a Bon Vivant,
But, the auto-wallah he hails is recalcitrant–
There are somethings he knows he can’t
Surmount, for his ears he has already lent
In acquiescence, to fare demands sardonically strident !
Our gourmet meanders along to Malleshwaram’s VEENA STORES
Imagining in”Nadaswaram” notes, the wailing wife’s cries hoarse
“You have always, incorrigibly, coveted the grass in the neighbor’s garden…
And conveniently called ME a correction-home’s warden ?”—
Psst, years of a south-headed marriage can render courtesies coarse.
In a Bohemian Bangalore, become an irrepressible social butterfly—
Flitting, flamboyantly, hither and thither— come rain or shine,
Having learnt well— sensibly seasoned— to keep his powder dry:
Past his prime, it’s a convivially platonic gambit–“your place or mine…”–
A charming connoisseur— anytime, anywhere, to DINE is fine.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.( C.). KUMAARA SUKEJA. AUG.2015.
Childhood and nonsense go together!
Udai’s reading a book of nonsense verse, and he is sort of addicted to it right now. He heard Michael Heyman, the editor of this specific compilation, speak at the Bookaroo. When I say speak, I mean perform. He was there, guitar in hand, soft voice and expressions full on, converting young impressionable children, recruiting them to the cause of nonsense!
When we were in school, I was just as enamored by the absolutely hilarious poetry of Nissim Ezekiel. When I read it today, of course, I see sharply its political context and the enormous influence that Indira Gandhi and the Congress legacy had on creative people of that time. Sample this:
I am standing for peace and non-violence.
Why world is fighting fighting
Why all people of world
Are not following Mahatma Gandhi,
I am simply not understanding.
Ancient Indian Wisdom is 100% correct,
I should say even 200% correct,
But modern generation is neglecting –
Too much going for fashion and foreign thing.
Other day I’m reading newspaper
(Every day I’m reading Times of India
To improve my English Language)
How one goonda fellow
Threw stone at Indirabehn.
Must be student unrest fellow, I am thinking.
Friends, Romans, Countrymen, I am saying (to myself)
Lend me the ears.
Everything is coming –
Regeneration, Remuneration, Contraception.
Be patiently, brothers and sisters.
You want one glass lassi?
Very good for digestion.
With little salt, lovely drink,
Better than wine;
Not that I am ever tasting the wine.
I’m the total teetotaller, completely total,
But I say
Wine is for the drunkards only.
What you think of prospects of world peace?
Pakistan behaving like this,
China behaving like that,
It is making me really sad, I am telling you.
Really, most harassing me.
All men are brothers, no?
In India also
Gujaratis, Maharashtrians, Hindiwallahs
All brothers –
Though some are having funny habits.
Still, you tolerate me,
I tolerate you,
One day Ram Rajya is surely coming.
You are going?
But you will visit again
Any time, any day,
I am not believing in ceremony
Always I am enjoying your company.
Another poem titled ‘The Professor’ is entertaining as well, in the same style, passing sharp commentary on his times in a humorous way. Then there was a poem about a nose that got up and ran away. For the life of me, I cannot remember the poet nor the entire poem. Nor is google-baba being of any help at all. If any of my Loreto friends (it was in that little book of poems we used) or anyone who studied ICSE in 1990-92 remembers this, please please let me know….