Dilli by Mayukh Dutta
the soul of my city is a tormented one
an archaic mausoleum of forgotten families
this city broken and repaired in centuries since
forgets one tale to create another.
the soul of my city lives in its alleys
cracked concrete narrating partition promises
embraced the many who sought refuge in these arms
yet burns till today with no armistice at night.
the soul of my city is in the language of its creators
where once Urdu sat on the steps of the Jama
poetry became a prayer for the thousands at sundown
a people's voice ended with a broken tongue.
the soul of my city is its ability to breathe
while it freezes in the cold and suffocates in the heat
it breathes out hope and horror to those lost in its sidewalks
but feeds all enough for all to sleep.
the soul of my city is its infinite rendezvous
where people remember more than they forget
the city keeps on repeating the same recitals of time
and yet finds itself a different costume to wear.
the soul of my city is in its voice
a calling that perished great empires and caused great wars
bloodied pages in history are filled with this voice
a summoning of lustful possession of its accursed bricks.
My Town is an old soul by Akshaya Pawaskar
My town is an old soul.
A quaint charm of ‘Susegad’ life morphed into the fast pace of modernity.
It gives a semblance of a huge banyan tree,
in whose shade we thrive.
It has a sense of familiarity,
change, non-pervading yet subtle hints of it.
It has a sense of safety.
I will always be a child here.
Perhaps, it is because my mother lives here or perhaps the town has become my mother.
Perhaps it is because I have always been sitting in its lap
like a fossil embedded in its amber.
Gods watch over it from all sides from their numerous temples, chapels and mosques,
Farms and hills abound, so also creeks
narrow coconut palm-lined lanes
going to the villages,
the oldest roots of them all.
Poets are carved out of its soil
and poems are weaved around
its every tree.
They rise from its
non-effacing sunsets, they are born from
Dogs gathering at night in its verandahs,
cows wandering its streets,
the slowly swelling gridlock
threatening its sanity.
The Areca nuts touching the sky
in the kulaghars,
the cashews and the hues of paddy fields
welcoming me back
whenever I fly far, knowing I always come home to it.
Ask me if it’s where I want to be
in ten years from now and
I will unapologetically, say ‘yes please’.
Calcutta is a love letter to the amber sunset by Ananya Dasghosh
There's a patchwork of Tussar silk and
vermilion dots on the foreheads of women
in my city, they pray for Gods in
weddings and funerals. The tramlines
are chronological chromosomes of
a sold era standing in memoir-like
unshaved armpits of puberty.
When you see the Calcutta houses
marked in advertisements, they are
postcards with differently abled
people once residing and now a
muted lover. There's a domestic
perfume that lingers in the air
of this city tied through the
humid sweat of it's pedestrians.
My city is an imprint on the
ghats registering names from
the passenger list of the local
train. There's so much of singularity
and plurality in this city that the
coffee houses sound of radio
telecasts, the mechanical rumors
in the chai stalls under the streetlights
are a busted rewind button.
I have seen candid stills make
poetry in this city on thick thighs
and on prisoners' foreheads and
we didn't die a death in history.
My mother's eyes and the city's
lights grown old under the torrid sun,
and Calcutta makes the most painful
love of longing and desire. The
fish fillets caress in turmeric and
salt, the rosogollas make festivities,
yet there are so many unspoken
tragedies. Somedays it is the
journal of revolution, somedays
a monochrome afternoon of
Feluda's movies. It is a strange city,
you will find love, the renaissance,
the revolt, the gun shots, the
migration and the history of
Calcutta is the ticking bomb
under your chest, a yawn of a
child, a bruise on your leg, a
barren palm reaching the sky,
a trending hashtag under the
metaphors, a daily wage worker
having meals, a mother breastfeeding,
a poetry that is apolitical and
an innocent mother tongue and
a transgender not being an
Calcutta sits on my fingers
like a chronicle, braided in a
dawn from masjid to mandir.
There are banners, a queue of
art lovers, a museum of soft riots,
and swampy football fields, you will
finger stains of chai on white kurta,
or samosas tied in newspapers and
yellow taxis running like nomads.
You will find empathy and kindness
in handpulled rickshaws, ink spillages
in freedom of speech, hungry bellies
under political food chain and
houses burnt down in cosmopolitan.
Calcutta is a love letter to the amber sunset,
a prayer making goosebumps on the flesh,
and corners selling happiness
~ a love affair in liberation, chaos and literature.
My Delhi fits me like an oversized hoodie by Antara Vashistha
My City, My Delhi,
the endless drones
of a time traveler,
speeding through lanes
modern and old.
If you've never been in love,
Take all the exits you need to enter Delhi-
dynamic, divergent, disproportionate
in its being,
with stories brewing in every alley,
Sniff closely in the corners of Connaught Place,
You will find that
Delhi exists in a time-space continuum,
it is still
as much Ghalib's as it is your next-door neighbor's,
It is as much mine as it is yours,
You will find yourself enamoured
by the nights at Nizamuddin,
Your eyes will break into smiles,
carving paths near Lodhi,
or better yet find yourself encumbered
on the boulevards of Uttam Nagar,
Or gently hold your hiraeth,
If you're like me,
on Delhi Metro Platforms-
Yellow, Blue, and Green,
we have all the colors here,
no labels, take your pick.
My heart finds hearth in Delhi,
And I wear my heart on my sleeve,
screaming South Delhi Slangs
to anyone who would listen,
dreaming in Green and Yellow Autos
about falling in love in the moonlight.
When I speak,
My tongue becomes fraught with the word 'bhai',
My love language becomes rife with trips for momos and egg rolls,
My Delhi fits me
like an oversized hoodie,
In its extremes of cold and heat,
we survive in solidarity
You will find balconies dripping with kindness
and water for birds,
Rugs resting on each street
for dogs to relax in December nights.
breathes through me like the ghost at Dhaula Kuan Metro Station,
caressing old bookstores and coffeeshops,
hotels and Havmor shops,
Delhi's soul exists
at the sole of my feet,
the endless drones
of a time traveler.
Cochin by Nikita Mohan
An incredibly strange of a notion
belongingness can be.
Devised by humanity
to test its own worthiness
of ever being accepted by a society
birthed in existence to reject.
I felt no such longing
to be identified with
one place, one culture, one people
subjecting myself to a potential
denial, dismissal, or refusal
to be granted my spot
in an overpopulated clan
with arbitrary principles
I stepped into the land
of palm trees
and pazham poris.
with its comely candour
has held me for years
clutching me tight
as an adoptive mother might
in its glorious deep blues
and infinite lush greens;
in its remarkable blending technique
of pinks, oranges, and even lavenders
if and when I find myself
sitting at the edge of this land
being put on a show for
by the Arabian Sea.
Enikku Malayalam Arrilla
I do not know Malayalam
I confess with a tinge of guilt
almost always it is met with
a curious smile
"Corpilla, It's okay. English or
Neither threatened by outsider infiltration,
Nor diminished in its grandiose tradition
Kerala feels no need to compensate
for its thin and scrawny built
clinging to the waters.
It can very well hold its own
in debates of politics
and human index
but most of all, its humility.
How fortunate am I
to have longed to belong
much after being accepted.
The lights and high-rises
make sure to remind me
I'm not so far from my northern home
and the sea breeze reassures me
I'm quite far enough if
I ever feel the need to be.