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Thursday, September 09, 2010

India's Many-splendoured Colours

pahar gunj

cramped bazaar, choking side streets
arteries splitting into veins
viscid dirt, body odours
whiff of perfume, auto emissions
the rickshaws, autos, scooters
............................and cows
tourists - clean and unkempt
incense - of the burning kind
the cacophony of vendors competing
with shouts, stern looks and horns
all living creatures jostling for space

'call home cheap' says the cafe sign
'rs. 15 an hour for internet'
open sewers to the side, debris
garbage and excrement on the road
hotel rooms from 500 to 5000
roof top cafes with menus
in hebrew, german, french, itlaian
and waiters and managers who sip
drinks hidden from customers

ajmeri gate

a few feet from the other entrance
to the new delhi station
past the squatting passengers,
families, cops and coolies
an entrance to the underground
a cocoon to a different world
the walls are paan-spit and graffiti free
posters are framed, signs are lit
security is polite and pervasive
announcements in hindi and english
trains clean, air-conditioned, on time
and trash cans are used
coexistence? split personalities?


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