Friday, December 10, 2004

Romancing a Bhelpuri

There went that metallic wail yet again. ‘Don’t
They grease their water pumps?’ I had mused.
Next time it sounded right below my window,
I looked down and got me confused.

Hee Haw! Hee Haw!
A wet donkey brayed.
Was he saying, “Come and join the fray”?!
There beyond, in the slush, the pigs were a-lolling,
While the piglets ran about them at play.

Five million years ago, I was thus horrified.
Five brief years hence, I just love what I then saw.
Sure, I learnt my Torts and I learnt my Contract.
But inspite of my method, I didn’t learn the law.

My education lay elsewhere about this quaint town.
On it’s streets, at the stalls, at the temples, at the store.
In this place of festivity, I found a whole new world.
A world so unaffected, of which I wanted more.

The enticing bazaars, bade indulgence over again.
With its ever joyous smells, shorn of all pretense.
Hot kachoris and bujjiyas and tangy bhelpuris,
And their divine aroma amid burning incense.

Then there’s Janmashtami and a riotous Chaturthi
Decked idols of Ganesha, pure delight for the eye.
Rakhi and Guddi Padva and a boisterous play of Hoil.
The zest for life here never did run dry!

In this mélange of roisterous humanity,
Each moment was pregnant with mystery.
Each new day dawned afresh in revelry.
Seemed, I was making my very own history.

Do tell, could a place so alive and seductive
Not have weaned me away from the Law?
Was a whole new feel, new insights, new beliefs.
Now I gather why he cried ‘Hee Haw’.

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