Manacled by the rambunctious clematis,
Tiptoed upon by the rust-speckled pigeons
These were the exemplary one-roomed tenements
Whose roofs were the upturned coal-iron boxes’
Blazing plates that ironed the blue fabric of the sky
With the determination of a one-man army
Out to crumble a mountain into a handful of dust.
To a falcon plummeting down from a skyscraper altitude
Cutting the air with slashing pairs of scissors at the end
Of powerful wings appeared this magnificent coliseum
Formed from circular hills which like descending
Terrace plantations came to be inhabited by men undone
By sluggish existence; rotten lives stained by betel nut
And paan-masala, but was not the new generation adamant
To set things right like an iron-box moving across
Old clothes which warble like withered crops suddenly
Supplied water after a summery hiatus?
There were signs, almost imperial, of progress—
Karkhanas manufacturing antique woodworks,
Statues of gods and cell phones together!
And how the erstwhile corners of gullies that
Reeked of garbage stench now glimmered with
Gold-lettered proverbs. This coliseum that is
Touched by the tangent of the railway line
Whose engine’s soft gargling sound is the same
As that emanating from the rust-speckled pigeon’s
Throat presently tiptoeing across the oven-hot roofs
Of my tremendous town.