Anthology of passionate poetries by women under 30 years of age about New Delhi
Editorial by Semeen Ali
Delhi – a city described as home to everyone yet belonging to no one. A city that has the ability to make one feel innumerable emotions simultaneously is a rarity. I came to live in this city ten years ago and never wanted to be a part of it; I wanted to go back home- to that sheltered, protected environment where I had grown up. Several years later I can’t think of living anywhere else. The charm and the spell that it casts on one’s mind is indescribable. The people, the food, the history- it takes years to understand this city and I believe ages to comprehend every nook and corner of this mysterious place. Mysterious, yes that’s the word for this city. It can make you experience different worlds as one moves from one corner to another. The fascinating aspect about the city is that every part is distinct from the rest.
To eulogize the myriad colors of this city and meditate upon them, Dr. Amitabh Mitra came up with the wonderful idea of publishing an anthology, which talked about the city. The interesting angle added by him was that the city be described by women poets who are below the age of 30. We got a tremendous response and it took a lot of time to go through all the submissions and finally select the poets we have featured in this anthology.
It was a delight to go through all the works and each work is distinct and unique in its own way. The fashioning of words in the form of poems that exquisitely describe this city is for you to read and be mesmerized.
We invite you to celebrate with us the city called Dilli!
Couple of poems that appear in this book are given below:
Of love in JNU - Anusha Chandrasekharan
The smell of wet foliage in the oppressive summer evenings bring back memories
Of long-lost summer nights, wet with anticipation, abundant hope and budding love.
The rotting leaves, dry earth, the overburdened night
Pregnant with possibilities of nocturnal walks along the dark alleys of an alma mater
Carefree abandon, the power of the present
The future a yet unfathomed embryo that was hidden in the womb of new discoveries
The winter nights, with the smell of crackling twigs breaking under the heavy dawn
Comfort wrapped in a shawl large enough to embrace two foundling wraiths
Until cruel time broke into ageless, timeless season after season
The pain of parting made way for bitter-sweet memories, salty tears, stinging doubt.
The streets still wind around the silent hostels, the decrepit classrooms and empty canteens
Large meaningless words still spring out of graffiti-covered walls to assault the unprepared stranger
Peacocks still roost on the high trees, their tails dragging them down to meet the red brick walls
But the roads are empty.
They diverged in the woods, were taken to new tomorrows filled with newer possibilities
In the rotting summer heat decays what little remained.
The monsoon showers drown the faint memories.
In another part of the city, a new love blooms.
Growing up in Delhi - Aditi Angiras
Sour lovers, crates of empty beer bottles, poetry on torn newspaper shreds, first butterflies, first heartache, runner-up school trophies, speeding tickets, pocket-money worth boring PVR shows, that green sweater grandma made you when you were 5 and your dog peed on it, junk in your closet, scratched CDs of favorite movies, traffic jams on the Ring Road, sleeping pills, sepia-tinted photographs, bad memories, India Gate candle ceremonies for rape victims, slit wrists, road accidents, cheap hangovers at Paharganj, exam failures, that time when you fell flat on your face playing football and everybody laughed, toffee wrappers from 1990s, fading tattoos, jeans you’ve outgrown, empty jewelry boxes, WWE pin-up posters that make no sense to you now, coffee mugs that leak, changed phone numbers, nights you thought you wouldn’t make it through, shoes spoiled when soaked in mad monsoon rains, cassettes that can’t play music anymore, old cigarettes, friends without faith, hope in torn pockets, upside umbrellas, skins with scars and your confetti of broken hearts.
And, come live in those corners of the city that still feel like a heartbeat.
Delhi pm - Kathryn Hummel
Delhi’s night stage
starts with a blue screen
and a solo:
the azan explodes!
into yellow noise
Shadows multiply in headlights,
obnoxious cars spill
dust on sandals.
Against wafts of ganja/oil/piss
follow slender bhais behind.
Song: I am long long long
and cast shadows
The pavement cracks follow
the dark droop over my shoulders
and night adds its weight to my fatigue