Tag Archive: new delhi


from google





For Delhi: An Exile’s Lament for his adopted Hometown …





In anticipation,

of a touch, a caress,


something tugs, straining,


luring me back,


through smoky mists of bygone times,


magically transporting me,


to the lilting strains of sensuous ghazals and erotic rhymes.




My memory flees the splintered now,


to monsoon drenched days in Delhi town,


with your hand in mine, hidden in plain sight,


whistling romantic tunes in the scorching Delhi summer night.




Days of gol-gappas* in the Connaught Place rain,


bicycle rides to the melas**,


to rewinding our song over and over again.




I do confess I have been dying a little each day, since you and I were torn apart,


when from our beloved Delhi I had to so hurriedly depart.




I have been dying the death of a thousand cuts, since bidding farewell to you and to our eternal Delhi town,


sinking bit by bit, into the frigid ocean of fate,


where I feel myself ever so slowly,


drown.





* – gol-gappas or paani-puri, a favourite roadside dast-food.


** – mela, the Hindi word for a carnival 










from google






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for Delhi-waalas everywhere

bunking classes in school, trying too hard to seem too cool.

those lazy humid summer days, nodding off on the bus ride home, with Delhi feeling like a greenhouse dome.

shedding our school bags, racing to round up the friends, the 40° heat never even an afterthought, batting and bowling in our small park, till bad-light caused us to gather in the dark.

my buddy and i, singing Beatles’ songs loud enough for the two girls we had crushes on, “Can’t buy me Love” belted out till we were hoarse, surviving the glaring looks of the disapproving  grannies of course.

those were the days, of cycling to the cinema, to watch “Sholay” for the umpteenth time, sitting in the 2-rupee seats right in front, rattling off the dialogue line by line.

racing back home to catch a few songs on “Chitrahaar”, sitting up close to our ancient black and white telly, the picture quality akin to snow, not that it mattered, this was after all our most coveted tv show.

getting our ears clipped at times for coming home late, the joyful sounds of laughter from our friends who were en-route home to a similar fate.

lighting clay diyas as Diwali approached, stuffing our faces with malaai burfi from “Bengal Sweet House”, downing sweet lassis as autumn upon summer encroached.

“borrowing” friends’ dad’s scooters, the wind in our hair, inhaling the pollution without any care, off to Connaught Place for an ice-cream at Nirulas, and to stock up on our filmi music cassettes from the ever smiling Sikh man at Palika Bazaar, till we emerged above ground, each of us smelling like an incense shop from afar.

stopping off in Defence Colony, to savour some gol-gappas and ganne-ka-ras, the only word never uttered those days was “bas”.

gliding down the streets of our colony, as if we were kings, with the brash swagger that being a teenager brings.

enjoying the Diwali nights, friends exchanging sweetmeats, as Delhi resounded with firecrackers and rocket streaked skies, having our fill of never-ending chais.

winter came along with its polluted fog blanketing the freezing early morn, our pleas of “only 5 minutes more” falling on deaf ears as from our warm beds we were torn.

when spring hopped along, we waited for Holi, to sing countless a filmi-song, with our pichkaaris, and water-filled balloons, aiming at all, giggling like buffoons.

if nostalgia is a seductive liar, as I somewhere once read, then allow me to be seduced, again and again, after all these years and all these miles that have been tread.

to be taken back to the Delhi of yesteryear, ignites a fierce passion, and I crave a coconut dipped syrupy meethha paan,

for after all these years inbetween here and there,

it’ll always be “meri Dilli, meri jaan”




               ____________



Glossary:



Sholay” – A popular Bollywood film of the 1970s.

Chitrahaar” – A musical television show.

Diyas” – small earthen lamps lit during Diwali.

Diwali” – the festival of light.

Malaai Burfi” – A popular sweetmeat.

Lassi” – A popular yoghurty drink.

Connaught Place” – the centre of New Delhi.

Palika Bazaar” – An underground shopping complex in Connaught Place.

Nirulas” – A popular fast food restaurant.

Gol-gappas” – A popular fast food

Ganne-ka-ras” – Sugarcane juice.

Defence Colony” – A suburb of New Delhi.

Bas” – A Hindi word meaning ‘enough’.

Chai” – Tea

Holi” – the festival of colours, heralding the arrival of spring.

Pichkaari” – A toy like device to spray water. Commonly used on Holi.

Meetha Paan” – sweet Betel leaf filled with syrup and other fragrant spices.

Meri Dilli, Meri Jaan” – literally meaning ‘my Delhi, my life”

Dilli” – Delhi

for my mother (1934 – 2008)

Greater Kailash, New Delhi, Early 1070s

for my mother (1934 – 2008)


she left me, with the thoughts of her embrace to warm me, in frigid mornings of tomorrows yet to come.


she left me, with words of tender truths to shroud me, in the coming evenings of stabbing sleet.


she left me, yet she stays within me, in my waking dreams, my restful thoughts.


she stays forever within me,


of me she shall remain an abiding part,


of the love.

the pain.

the tears.


so that we shall never be truly apart …


          _________


My Family – A historical journey through the seasons …


https://afzalmoolla.wordpress.com/2016/01/12/my-family-a-historical-journey-through-the-seasons-2/


ode to delhi … … …





taste of gol-gappas,

drowning tongues,

in dreams of monsoon-marinated dilli,


of cycle-repair stalls,

sweet-lime soda hued shawls,


dtc at minto bridge stuck as always,

see how tragedy binds us still,

to the olden days,


nostalgic kisses, quivering lips brushing each other,

during stolen moments,

on friends’ fathers’ “borrowed” vespas,


aur phir Diwali would announce its imminent arrival,

smog-filled galiyaan, diyas alight in the pre-winter night,


and then, sheher ki roshni dazzled us all,

( not very acceptable, granted, in this eco-age )


and we danced into the chilly autumn night,

barely touching each other,


yet our souls,

hearts,


the sum of our desires,

our innocent yearning,


seemed sated at nights end,


and to that,

that feeling, hardly ever felt since:


contentment.


enoughness.


that,

keeps me dreaming these nostalgic,

spicy dreams,


of leather against willow,

setting fields,

the sight of middle-stump toppling,


memories etched,

engraved, tattoed into my being,


along with you,


my constant,

fellow traveller,


mere humsafar,


and though dilliwaalas are known to spin a yarn,


let’s leave it as it was,


meri dilli, meri jaan.



I remember her beret,

on that rainy day at the bus-stop, 


she said that she had grown tired of the pretences this world demanded,


we spoke of Marx and she smiled, for I was much younger then, wearing it all on my sleeve,


she smiled, and we spoke till she had to leave.


we met at that bus-stop many times more,


sharing our laughter, our pain, of the knots that cut deep into our core,


she always wore her beret and she was fierce, brave and steadfastly traversing the murky waters of being a wage-slave,


we promised each other we wouldn’t be like the rest, not even in our grave,


ah but that was many moons back, when life was starkly coloured white and black,


I wonder where she could be now, and I hope she is as she was back then,


when everything wasn’t just about love and light and being zen,


I wonder too were we to perchance meet, would she pull me close out of the grime stained street,


or would she walk on by, leaving me to my own devices,


after decades of being whittled down, after making all the right choices … … …

​on your skin, scribbling odes to love,
angry, lost, empty,

raucous, pristine, encompassing love.
on my heart, scribbled odes embossed, etched, engraved,
yearning, pining, aching,
for you … … …


destiny

fate


somewhere

someplace


alfoat on honeydew petals


mere strands


filaments


years trickling through

fingertips


lost whispers

dreamed caresses


awake

alive …



smouldering

ablaze in the cauldron


of


destiny

fate


of convergent wisps

sprinkling kisses


on your

honeydew lips


we shall always be many more

we who roast in your designer factories

our brows dripping salty sweat

we who forgive but shall never forget


we shall always be many more

we reek of cheap moonshine

we stagger and often stumble

our stomachs never ceasing to rumble


we shall always be many more

we polish your fine bone china

our pay gets docked if a cup gets chipped

our children to wars get shipped


we shall always be many more

we clean up after your pretty children

our kids are hungry, naked and callously swept

into bowels of desolation, as mothers’ tears are wept


we shall always be many more

we do your dirty work every day

you treat us like vermin, foul and rotten

our dignity always forgotten


we shall always be many more

we will rise up, seizing the standard of hope

reclaiming what is common for daughters and sons

always squarely in the cross-hairs of your guns


we shall always be many more

and there shall be many more of us to come

to rid you of your smug arrogance, endless greed

yes we too have children we have to feed


we shall always be many more

‘and the meek shall inherit the earth’

or something like that though we no longer care

for we shall rise up demanding our common share


we shall always be many more … … …


( with thanks to Ken Loach’s film ‘Tierra y Libertad’

breathless … …

​breathless, laboured

               tortured


each breath

                     swallowed


greedily gulping gasping


each breath

                    stolen

                               without you

​your fingers

mine


sketching dreams

scribbling hopes


my fingers

yours


holding back

resistant


knowing the path ahead

littered with thorns


oblivious

knowing


the path ahead must be walked


alone at times 

but never lonely 


not with you by my side

evoking a belonging felt true and deep


inside

these interwoven veins

dna

double-helixed


microscopically

binding


me

you


us

all


through

this common

shared

truth:


‘I am because you are’*


all of us

together

as one


me

you …


… uBuntu*




  


* – uBuntu is an isiXhosa/isiZulu concept that espouses the “belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”

imagine … … …

a beach of solace


the lapping waves

tickling our bare toes


softly powdered sand caressing our feet


a carpet of palms

waltzing in the breeze


imagine …


you

i


setting sail on distant seas


far

far

away


bidding adieu to the emptiness of yesterday


sharing each other

knowing that your

smile


stays with me

within me


through

tomorrows we have still to see


sharing

our slice of peace


through

laughter

tears


through

joy

fears


to

bloom in earthy hues


when thunderstorms pass


blossoming into fiery scarlet


kneading away

our hollow suburban blues …


for ’tis in your smile

that my mirth resides


imagine …


your head on my shoulder


ready to face all

oncoming tides



imagine … 

​misty tears fall on splintered parchment


history simmers


the shackles of centuries cast off


the chains of oppression shattered


embracing new horizons


dawning

and

trusting once again

in that unfinished dream


of less famished tomorrows

scribbling verses

on her bare back


my fingers

rhyming

each flourish a caress

etching odes to hope

across the canvas


of her warm skin …



her breath

inflamed


seeking


fingertips

lips

sashaying in the evening breeze

dancing free

abandoning trepidation


what do i know

as 

fingers flutter


over undulating peaks

valleys …


softly

gently


as soul meets soul

she who is

half of my whole

she who remains


my perennial

meditation






 …





straining to hear

the thud-thudding of your heart


amidst this cacophonous crowd.



so

i close my eyes


and

i see you


floating on clouds

unfettered

free to just be


your wings spread proud

unclipped


skipping

hopping

across sunbeams


sketching your open sky


bathed in

colours vivid

alive


fiery

earthy

warm

fierce

gentle


each 

brush stroke


infused with hues


from 

the palette of your dreams …












Parched lullabies seem jarring,

gentle persuasion an assault,
quiet understanding reeking of decay,
fatigued under this skin in which I must stay.

Dreams of moulting,
shedding the hubris of crafty words,
flushing away all famished rhymes,
ripping the fibres of an ink-stained past.

Knowing.

Always knowing,

that honey-soaked kisses, seem destined,
breathlessly,
never to last

Embers fade,

disappearing into the hushed night …

Petals wither,
falling on the soft grass …

Words pale,
obscured by the anguish within …

Faces blur,
dimmed by the galloping years …

Kisses lose,
the urgency of those bygone depths …

Feelings recede,
lying dormant in shielded vaults …

Love loses,
fatigued after numberless skirmishes …

Pain flees,
seeking new wounds to inflict …

Scars remain,
sentinels against,

the dilution of memory … … …

Why him, they ask her …

​why, they ask her,

why him?

she always says the

day we met

and spoke

and laughed

she felt

all she needed to be was herself



William Dalrymple, author of ‘City of Djinns’ inscribed my copy.

Inscription reads “from an adopted Dilliwaala to Afzal, a real one”


😊

👍

Love, Mania, and Verse


The pendulum swings,
while the mania in my head,
strips me bare and yanks me,
into the cauldron of love.

Once again,
never divining the tea leaves,
knowing, always knowing,
the gnawing knots of unease,
that curl into a fist.

My isolation is a shield,
a suit of armour,
tightly clad around my self,
once worn,
then discarded,
taking its place,
on my barren shelf.

Love, mania and verse,
coalesce, beseeching me,
with timeous forewarning,
not to tread into the quicksand,
that slippery bog of promise.

Yet,
in times past,
in moments present,
tis’ that very promise,
that I cling to.

At times I lose,
myself in the crowd,
revelling in the solitude found there,

at times I claw,
my way back to the now,
aching for the pain that stings,

the buried voice that sings,
dirges to forgotten emotions,

scribbled verse that flings,
the toys out of my cot,

while I wait,
for the mania to stop,

knowing,
always knowing,
that it shall be,

merely a matter of time,
before the other shoe,
must, as always, 
drop

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