Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Nostalgic Memory

The heart of the capital city

Blossoms in December days

The fire in the torch at India Gate

Hesitates to burn brightly

The city that spits smoke

Moves on mechanically as usual

When the ‘Paanwala’ in Parliament street

Enquires about my well being

My lips utter ‘fine’ artificially

Malayalam ‘fine’ and Hindi ‘fine’ are different

My language changes

In front of the journalist in Rafi Marg

There, it is the usual ‘what is news’

When I meet the Malayali in Mayur Vihar

My language becomes more artificial

And more that that, dispassionate

There, the Malabarian and Travancorean

Show off their ego in newspaper language

When the Tamilian in Ramakrishnapuram

Calls me ‘Sir’ my answer becomes heavy

In Karol Bagh I have one language

And in Africa Avenue, another

In the posh Safdarjung Enclave

I have ‘apartment style’ language

When I return to my dwelling place

At the end of the day

And when I dream of loneliness

A small parrot chirps inside

The nest of my heart

I held my ears close

It was uttering something

In a feeble voice

Yes, I have heard this voice somewhere

It was the language of my village, of my household

Of my village people, and of my family

But, it is still not coming out through my lips

It has not been coming out for long

Even when I spend my time ‘freely’ with my friends.

By Ismail Meladi

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