Friday, February 24, 2012

Life in the City - Poetry in an Urban Jungle

Chapter 2 - Migrant Musings

The sun sets over the Juhu Beach leaving the sky a riot of colours - from the strongest pinks to the most radiant saffrons...and amidst all that a globe of fire dispassionately sinks into the sea. The Sun does not care that it's another date ticked off the calendar of my life..He has a date with the other side of the earth..There are people waiting there to wake up, find a new purpose to their life on a new day...

This thought is a bookmarked that often comes to haunt every other night before sleep overtakes me. I remember the last time it visited clearly..

I was standing carefully by the very edge of the beach, pleased with myself for calculating just how much the tide will invade the land..this way the waters just kiss my feet and don't drench me uncomfortably. The sand that faithfully sticks to the folds of the toes is uncomfortable but there was a time when I craved it...when the cold, pebbled beachfront in Brighton bit into the tender flesh underfoot. The chill in the air and the twinges of pain running up my feet then had made me crave the warm sneaky sands of Juhu..

I look around and there are few on the beach that appear to be there like me, philosophising on life. Most are families out for an evening of fun on the beach - children happily turning into mud bunnies while their mothers watch on, resigned to the tricky day of laundry ahead. Others for whom the beach is a catching-up point, much the same way I think of a Costa coffee or the Cafe Coffee Day across from the beach. It is much cheaper and come to think of it, affords complete privacy...where else can you be just a dot on a sandy landscape?

I have new companions for the hour as I walk trailing footprints across the spongy sand - prostitutes and peddlers, delicately whispering their rates to foreigners as they brush by, football-crazy teens and couples in love, who can't find a more private spot in the crowded metropolis. But then in Mumbai, every day you find new companions,some turn familiar faces travelling the same weary path that you are while others just bob up and about at strange times in strange places. Sometimes they leave a whiff of their presence, mostly, this city just swallows them whole...

I close my eyes..and a new thought is gaining a life of its own - Is Mumbai a figment of my imagination? Have I created an ugly but genial, crowded but entirely private city in my head? If I blink a couple of times will the beach in front of me fold into a nice undulating rug that I can then stow in my bag and carry away?? Are the people that cross me imagined creatures, with life kissed into them only at the time of the hour of the day that they are scheduled to play a minor role in my personal drama?? Is there a big brass box stowed in someone's attic where they all retire to once their part is over?

Perhaps it is the smell of weed that I detect hanging in the air as I move further inland on the beach away from the waters...I'm lightheaded...but my hunt for poetry in an urban jungle continues...

( Photographs Courtesy: Gregor Thomeczek, 2011)


  1. My dear Deepthy,

    The urban migrant will surely find what one's looking for in Mumbai? Poetry in the urban jungle? Best wishes!!

    May ur musings come in small read-size doses.

    Peace and love,
    - Joe.

    1. Joe: As always, thank you..I guess I am recapturing my flow as I write, isn't it strange we take our ability to write for granted and then realise when we re-start it after a while that it is incredibly difficult to reclaim the smooth flow of thoughts!

  2. What a soulful post! For a while you almost threatened to unfurl it all: your longings and loneliness, till you hushed it away to Costa Coffe. You summed up the low-life of Mumbai in swift, breathtaking strokes.

    1. USP: I really enjoy your comments, coming from a good writer like you, it is a great compliment. Do continue to read the series, you might empathise or understand the context of several of the rants that is so intrinsic to life in Mumbai. :)

  3. hi,check my blog,i have nominated u for an award

    1. Prabhavathi: Thank you for the award. Could you please put a link to it here? :)