Kolkata’s Streets by David M Gunson SignUp
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Theme: Kolkata Share This Page
Kolkata’s Streets
by David M Gunson
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  Power lines writhe on building walls
Like the Ashwath Vriksha’s banyan roots.
Cracked pavements are splashed with betel nut;
Kolkata’s palette beneath my feet.
Narrow streets and arm’s width lanes
Disport care-worn houses one room wide,
Windows are guarded by almond eyes,
Doorways spill exotic smells.
The chai man squats by a dung fuelled stove:
Cardamom, cinnamon and orange blossoms
Served in a throwaway clay bhaar cup, o
Only two Rupees for your delight.
Four feet up a rustic wall two tailors
Pedal their Guru machines perched within an eight foot hole;
No shop front, it’s cooler that way.
Airtel SIM cards and mobile contracts
Sold from a weather-worn cupboard door;
Don’t worry about his humble digs,
This guy can handle everything.
Tired cows and weary dogs
Plod the streets in search of scraps,
Kolkata’s cats have inexplicably retained their South Asian style.
These chaotic streets offer such profundity
My mind and senses reel.
Kolkata will stay with me forever,
I will leave here with an altered faith.
Ashwath Vriksha: Tree of Life
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November 12, 2007
More By: David M Gunson
Views: 1361      Comments: 4

Comments on this Poem

Comment Thank you dipankardasgupta for your very kind words.

David Gunson
09/14/2012 03:49 AM

Comment Error:

My comment, second line from bottom should read: "clearly show how deeply you have been etc."


dipankardasgupta
05/23/2011 22:38 PM

Comment Excellent evocation of the old city. The term we used for the 'throwaway clay bhaar cup' was 'chatti' - environmentally friendly, when no one had heard of the term!

>Kolkata’s cats have inexplicably retained their South Asian style.<
I confess to being puzzled by this insertion, since my recollection is only of the ubiquitous (often mangy) pariah dogs; at any rate, there appears not to be much variation in cat styles anywhere!

rdpashby
05/23/2011 10:05 AM

Comment This was a rare treat, especially for someone who has travelled through the world only to come back and find peace under the Ashwath Vriksha of Kolkata. Absolutely unforgettable lines:

Power lines writhe on building walls
Like the Ashwath Vriksha’s banyan roots.
Cracked pavements are splashed with betel nut;
Kolkata’s palette beneath my feet.

As far as

Tired cows and weary dogs
Plod the streets in search of scraps

go, I haven't come across the tired cows for several years now. But then, it could well be that I didn't visit the right parts of the city.

And then

Four feet up a rustic wall two tailors
Pedal their Guru machines perched within an eight foot hole;
No shop front, it’s cooler that way.

clearly show deeply you have been involved with this much loved and hated city.

This is a remarkably good tribute to the city. I am fascinated.

dipankardasgupta
05/23/2011 01:32 AM




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