Ghazal for Goregaon & Other Poems

Alone

When my friends left the country,

one by one, I ate and drank and sang

at their farewells, talking of how true friendships last

across the tunnel of distance.

Goodbyes glittering in those terminal summers.

The last coffees, jam sessions, the jokes nobody understood

but us. The inadequacy of reason

made no difference in my Bombay.

We were playing the cards we were dealt.

The lanes in the old colony are now absent:

Sooty faces squirming their way

up the light that never went off.

Our houses thinning like a departing aircraft.

It may never snow in this city.

Alone is rather unromantic.


Face to Face

Her eyes leak the terrible secrets

of our destined fall.

In the concupiscent hall

of our lip-marked closure

logic dodges the unobvious.

And our hearts imitate irrational numbers.

The touch-and-go decimal

that we found in our abysmal

arithmetic of the in-between.

Like two nihilists

Abandoning a time machine.


Ghazal for Goregaon

Someone’s going astray in Goregaon.
We’re all lost halfway in Goregaon.

A junkie writes a song of despair
and then listens to reggae in Goregaon.

Varun could have played for India someday.
His failure is already a cliche in Goregaon.

He who drowned at the Ganpati Visarjan
was declared lucky next Monday in Goregaon.

A woman is eager in the Westin lobby.
Who is she about to betray in Goregaon?

Oberoi International charges six lakhs a year.
How affordable is a school day in Goregaon!

Carbon’s forming compounds in the air.
And people will destroy Aarey in Goregaon.

What is upsetting mothers these days?
So many died last May in Goregaon.

Flyovers disagree with my life’s path.
But Mihir is here to stay in Goregaon.


Daydreaming

You see the shooting of Orion’s invisible arrow

as in the story you read before physics and poetry

ruined your life.

A Gangs of Wasseypur song jars you out of unreal time.

Somewhere, Ashwatthama is walking with a death wish.

 

You have all the answers now

but no question is relevant anymore.

 

Deep pockets, high-jackets, skyrockets.

The Bandra of your FYJC is floating in midair –

its pubs and prawns and low-cost shararas.

Our gray grungy sky of think smoke and weak metaphors

looming over a diatribe against fidelity.

Somewhere, she must be laughing at the joke I never cracked.


Ghosts

You don’t believe in ghosts. But that is not the point.

Whose ghost is most likely to bother you is.

Think of all those who died while you lived on.

Aubrey, the just-engaged senior from college

who died in a bike accident on New Years’.

Uddhav, the childhood neighbour

you played Chor-Police with

and showed off magic tricks to.

Mother’s brother who died

thirty-three years before you were born.

Friend’s friend who collapsed in a bath.

The grandmother who screeched

through your ear; the grandfather

who invokes the Mahabharata

he once read out to you.

Or the watchman who was reduced to a dusty cloth;

the shopkeeper who disappeared on a Sunday.

Or the father whose body was stiff

like the G. I. Joes he bought you

before you broke the door open.

They died their way without you.

And the dead don’t even think about you.


Leaving a Job

With a line based on a line by Varun Grover:


“Ulta karke dekh sake toh

Ambar bhi hai gehri khai”

The street outside the house is mostly empty.

The last batch of construction workers at Oberoi,

walking back in pairs, holding hands, sharing a beedi.

Outside the makeshift cobbler shop

a pair of dissimilar shoes hangs across the road.

You look at the moon expectantly and look down again

to see if it changes your world view – it doesn’t.

A light from the far end exposes the hour.

Somebody at Westin must be working over the weekend,

waiting for their boss to approve the revised PPT

so that they can drop that girl home

or at least grab a drink with a colleague.

You darken the dotted lines of experience

and deduce the scenario.

It’s your last two weeks at the job.

Two and a half years pencil the horizon.

From awards to compliments to friends –

you think of all things you’ve won along the way.

But the one thing that you didn’t stabs your heart.

That one and only regret of yours wrecks the hour.

You shut the window and go down for a walk

seeking lucidity in the confessional dark.

You are not the first person to leave a job.

And leaving is not all that bad after all.

How ordinary would be the act of entering

if nobody ever left.

You’ve seen the holes in empty spaces,

egresses to unrequited dreams.

The colony of old laughs

interlaid with the street’s expanse

collapses like a city in American sci-fi.

How many more partings before you die?

The night cooks slowly in a clay oven.

You look up to give the world a miss.

The sky, too, is an inverted abyss.

Photograph collected from mid-day

About author

Mihir Chitre
Mihir Chitre 1 posts

Mihir is the author of Hyphenated (Sahitya Akademi: 2014).

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