And The Mona Lisa Smiles…

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Perched on an unassuming wall

armed with her sinister smile

She awaits the times gone by

with trembling tenacity

She sits pretty

My Mona Lisa’s shadow

***

Housed in a land

undeserving of her ravenous beauty

I wonder what she thinks

of the vanity of this city

I wonder if she laughs

at their empty sorrows

***

Does she look up

at the mountain of martyrs

or at their Gods’

lost virtues

Does she pretend to be kind

to those who dwell in its grime?

***

Or is she mocking the hypocrisy

of the fake bourgeois nights

The city reeks of guilt

of its riches and grandeur

and yet she beams with pride

as the world’s wonder’s sparkles during dark times

***

Like everything around us

she is pretty only to her eyes

and those who fought and won

to protect that sensual smile

must often wonder if the lives lost

were worth her while

***

If beauty is only skin deep

hers is as thick as his canvas

she’s the world’s biggest mystery

and its greatest surrender

I wonder when he painted

was he in love with her smile

***

Did he dream of her home

so tainted and beautiful?

Or is it just time that has made

the Mona Lisa smile so wistful???

In My City


I am living what seem to be the last few days here in this city. And yes the reference to the Priyanka Chopra Hall of Crap was just coincidental. It has a life this place like those scary horror movies that claim houses have spirits. Only this city is not scary, in fact it is the contrary. It lives and breathes every day. It sits with you in empty auto rides smiling and hugs the ocean on the Marine Drive from sunrise to sunset.
You can choose to be anyone here because the city is like that old friend who doesn’t judge you. It branches out into parts you probably haven’t seen before and yet holds it back together. There is a reason why the city has been a victim of more terror attacks than other Indian cities. It has this troubling sense of equilibrium; like it is going to descend to chaos any second and yet it hangs on, like an eternal pause. I suppose the terrorists would probably just think it is easy target to bring a nation down but unfortunately every time the city just gets a little ruffled and falls right back into its place as if nothing went wrong.
Unlike Delhi (and mind you it is my hometown and I love the city), people are not looking to pick fights with everyone else. They are instead all about doing their jobs. No wonder it is the financial capital because the culture is that of being industrious. There is no time for laziness, no afternoon siestas (unlike Kolkatta). This city means hard work even when it comes to art and music. It celebrates struggle and gives a grand prize to ones struggling the most. It has so many faces, you tend to lose count. Some days it is that old friend driving you home safe post a night of relentless partying at 1 30 AM. At others it is the boss who works you till the wee hours of the morning. It is also a parent who takes care of you and on many occasions, it is an actor that pretends there is no chaos in this world. The city is like many one night stands rolled into one. Every night you think you know it one bit better and in the morning it surprises you with a new twist in the story.
It is, of course, the people who make this city. I remember a taxi driver telling me this one day he explained why Mumbai is so safe and Delhi isn’t. His logic was that the men in this city come from their homes and earn for their families and send back money. For them, their job is of utmost importance, people are too busy making ends meet to even consider a crime. In Delhi, however, there is no such transience. I have another theory. In the heart of Maharashtrian culture, there lies this inherent respect for women. Perhaps something that slowly erodes as you go up north. Mumbai thankfully has managed to hold on to everything that is good in each culture and build its own humanity.
I didn’t even realize when this city became my best friend until I was sitting alone in an auto, Muhammad Rafi playing in the background and the auto driver quaintly humming “Main zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya”. That’s what it does, this city. It has an eternal friendship with life and you don’t even realize it and it has found a place in your heart.

The Voice of Conscience

She calls me far away
Bidding me come back
To what remains
In these desert sands

Do I forgive my sins
And wash them away
Or do I take the road
Far less strayed?

She tells me it’s a forgotten memory
It’s story lies in the truth
My heart’s salvation
My soul’s unread book

I pass by the death pass
Rock on through the valley
Climb these dark mountains
Into my heart’s back alley

A fortified ruin it stands
Atop my stories of disgrace
But its strength lies in pieces
Of its unabashed face

She breathes a troubled sigh
sad at the drifting apart
She wonders when I would walk back
into the ruined chambers of my heart….

On The Road…

The Times are changing
So are we
In a phone call that never came
We became all that we could be
You walk past these gates
A man with a dream
And yet the beautiful tides that await
Undo your lost screams
You left something unsaid
When you walked out of the door
You wish you had turned back
And embraced the memories some more
On the road around the world
There will come a moment of truth
When you’ll remember the laughter
And all that you had wanted to do
But moonlit night would let you know
Even when you left home
You never left the memories
You’re never truly alone…
The letters never sent, were always read
The words unsaid, were always heard
That phone call you missed
was always remembered