Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Calcutta: A Collage

Perching on the top of an old building
under the faded sky
screams an eagle repeatedly.
On the side of a street
two ragged women and a few crows
are busy in turning the heap of garbage.
Like a beaten dog wailing in pain
an ambulance is running off.
On the next street traffic is halted
by a long rally that goes endlessly
shouting slogans old and effaced.
Over their heads is stretched a flyover
where runs the cars flogged with the whip of hurry.
Like an abrupt cry of a palsied child
a siren is heard
and a dark-glassed white car flies past,
the Tricolour on its bonnet
violently shaken by the wind.
Endless movements of worms
in the stomach of the city.
Chronic diabetic are the buses
that eat and eat without getting satiated.
With the burden of advertisements all over the body
an old tram like a bonded labourer
crawls along the track of wretchedness,
often tormented with a guilt
of killing Shakti Chattopadhyay unknowingly.

Venturing like ants
tiny human figures endlessly come and go
along the streets and lanes.
In spite of crossing hundreds of zebra-crosses
the legs haven't reached the other side of the road.

People's restless mobility in the heated city
the rice -grains boiling in cauldron.
An enormous manifastation of the present
that keeps rising in vapours from
nose, mouth and scalp.
Vapours have swallowed the sky.
But on the ceiling of the Birla Planetarium
sky is reborn - hazeless and smokeless,
conjuring up the night that falls over broad daylight.

On one side of Esplanade
old and new demands sit for hunger strike
bidding festoons and placards to shout slogans.
Protests storm the streets
defying even the water-cannons and teargas.
Protest sometimes make bonfire
of buses, trams and leader's effigy.
Moments throbbing all the time
flooding boiling springing
past and future rippling
in this ever flowing present.
Liveliness of present reverberating
on the feet of old rickshaw pullers,
in the hawkers' trade cry,
in those hands that have no time to rest,
in the eyes with no time to sleep.

Millions and millions of bubbles
on the suface of this metropolitan sea
break and emerge and break and emerge growing more and more..
So full of life
So full of presentness
this ever present Calcutta...

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