Sunday, April 27, 2008

This City

By Reshma Ghosh

This city, with its shifting shapes and sliding dreams, which harbours the hearty, the weary, the optimist and the pessimist with equal generosity.
Whose commercial carapace hides its softer underbelly of tenderness and soulful humanity.
Whose lanes and bylanes I have explored with curiosity when younger and with confidence when older and never failed to marvel at the tenacity of its people.
This city.
I have walked under its neon lights, on broken pavements, on dented streets, under a curdled sky.
I have breathed in its toxic fumes, in crowded rooms, in stuffy cabs and loved its spirit of ‘never say die’.
I have watched bandicoots scooting, heard rickshaw-drivers hooting and seen eunuchs hitching up their skirts.
In this city.
I have smiled at bone-setters, shoe-menders, flower-sellers and rag-pickers.
I have looked down on rash-drivers, social climbers, wrongdoers and gold-diggers.
I have exulted at the sight of the first grey monsoon clouds over the sea.
I have hungered, I have loved, I have pined.
In this city.
I have seen the small man rise, the big man fall and the middleman grin and the city continue in its ceaseless way.
I have seen men and women hang up their despair and lose themselves in a family drama on the telly.
I have seen people after bomb blasts, riots, stock market crashes, pick up the pieces of their broken lives and pretend that nothing happened anyway.
In this city.
This city, that has let me slip in and out of identities like a chameleon.
That has let me laugh at Prithvi, romance at Marine Drive and cry at Bandstand.
That has not questioned me when I have eaten a vada pao at a roadside stall or batted an eyelid when I’ve shucked down oysters with vodka at a fancy restaurant and run up a bill I don’t wish to recall.
This city whose smells I cannot forget.
The smell of pungent Bombay Duck that hangs in lines on Carter Road under the sun.
The acid smell of steel of the local train that lingers, long after the journey is done.
The smell of smoky pubs and sizzlers that crawls shamelessly into my hair and the lining of my underwear.
The smell of corn roasting on a summer day.
This city, which I sometimes hesitate to call my own because it doesn’t afford me a square inch of land or sky to bear testimony that it is indeed my home.
This city that I love, anyway.


Anonymous said...

This is also good, I think you are getting a good collection for this issue.
-- Abha Iyengar (

anaghaa said...

I loved this! Although I didnt quite understand the end:(