The City

Being back in the city was an assault on the senses. The lungs breathed in smoke. On the roads, people on motorbikes and in cars blew their horns, totally unaware of the terrible noises they created. They had become used to them. In other words, they had lost their ability to tell a beautiful sound from an ugly one. There was filth all around – wrappers, rotten food, all kinds of garbage into which the dogs put their heads to find something they could eat, and puddles of muddy water created by the rains. The ugly roar of the engines was incessant. Apparently, this was normal life for the millions of persons who lived here. They did not know that they were living sub-human lives. They were more concerned with overtaking the rickshaw next to them, with incessantly glancing at the traffic light to see if it was green yet, with staring without shame at the girl in tight clothes. They looked at the beggar with the malformed arm, the madman sleeping on the pavement, and felt nothing. As far as the eye could see, there were metal boxes called cars, and concrete structures called houses, in which lived human beings, cramped, unaware, obsessing with their petty lives.

The ugliness of the outer world was only a reflection of their inner lives – anxious, aggressive, coarse. The filth outside was only a reflection of the filth inside, the filth that cultivated a disrespect for the body and its right to cleanliness and dignity. Their eyes betrayed a fear, their faces and gestures an aggression, and beneath it all a disappointment at the emptiness of everything around them. The disappointment was never fully felt, for if it were, it would move them to change the world and bring a revolution. He wondered if these people really wanted to be alive, or were just carrying on with the grind of their lives because they did not know how to die.

It was not how life was meant to be. This was not the purpose for which human beings were created. It was a state in which they were oblivious to the very notion of purpose. Finally in the silence of his room, he felt a sadness about the world around. Only one thing could express this sadness fully and restore a sense of beauty, like sadness always does, when met honestly.

ye daagh daagh ujaala
ye shab gazeeda seher
wo intezaar tha jiska
ye wo seher to nahi…

ye wo seher to nahi jiski aarzu le kar
chale thay yaar ke mil jaayegi kahin na kahin
falak ke dasht mein taaron ki aakhri manzil
kahin to hoga shab-e-sust mauj ka saahil
kahin to ja ke rukega safina-e-gham-e-dil

bohot azeez thi lekin rukh-e-seher ki lagan
bohot qareen tha haseenaan-e-nur ka daaman
subuk subuk thi tamanna
dabi dabi thi thakan
wo intezaar ka jiska
ye wo seher to nahi

abhi garaani-e-shab mein kami nahi aayi
nijaat-e-deeda-o-dil ki ghadi nahi aayi
chale chalo ke wo manzil abhi nahi aayi..


The same humanity which had created the ugly city had also created this beautiful testament to loss, to sorrow and to a longing for paradise. In the same psyche lay both ugliness and beauty. He wondered if it would ever be possible to have a beautiful world.

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~ by tdcatss on July 9, 2015.

2 Responses to “The City”

  1. I lived in Mumbai and Pune . And both qualify for The City title. Too bad.

  2. True. I’d say this about most Indian cities..

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