Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I’ve been waiting for you
Across the waters of Shalimar Bagh










But have you ever been there?

Where?

Kashmir?

No

Then how did you come to think of Shalimar Bagh?

It was in a book I read. Not a novel, nor non-fiction, but a textbook, a middle-school textbook that I was working on.

And you thought of writing a poem?
Can you really think of writing a poem? Is that ever a part of the process?
Is this even a poem?

Depends on what comes next.

It has been two years and nothing came after. I’ve been waiting for you, across the waters of Shalimar Bagh. I’ve been leafing through pages of text, heavy text, curriculum, pedagogy, propaganda, call it what you will, sitting by the pillars of the baradari, Jehangir built. I’ve been listening to the wind in discreet concert with the water; the only other sound was from my anklet. The only other rhythm was inside my mind, transported to childhood taleems in kathak, where the still untempered feet danced to verbal boli’s, but the child danced to the music on her mind, ‘ghar nahin humre shyam’. Young, audacious she, trifling with the Meera-metaphor of her life! 

I’ve been waiting for you, across the waters of Shalimar Bagh, across the interruptions of lead on printed text, across the politics of punctuation, across the dilemmas of degrees and diplomas, across degrees of divulgence, in poetry, in prose, in silence ariose. I’ve been training to bring on the indelible red, across the black and white of a page, I’ve been straining to keep to lead, the great patron of amendments, while prolonging the dusk with a disbelief in night and no greater faith, either way.

Diwan-i-aam, Diwan-i-khas
inside and out
ringing with your absence.
Elevators, trapdoors, panic rooms, cellars
heaving
parks, highways, mountains
breathing in
your absence


Until yesterday, when the next came with all its finality of a strikethrough in red without the defense or even the existence of ‘stet’, and it ended with,

while the sunset steals the colour

of my terracotta skin,
to darken the only night,
of all my ages


2 comments:

Anupam Patra said...

And what came completes it with a inevitable hiatus...

I liked what I read...Hoping you won't change

Yudhajit Mukherjee said...

Like a leech
And this is another reason
why