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Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Question-Hour at the Traffic Lights

POETICLICENSE: Introducing an occasional new department: Rhymes for our times...

Updated: Jan 28, 2020 01:05 IST

By Malavika Sangghvi, Hindustan Times

Whose daughter is it who scampers,

Hurtling through the rush-hour snarl,

Caught between the traffic lights,

She runs as if a jagged knife,



Through your car window, you spy a parallel life,

On which platform will her train arrive,

Will she make it home on time?

How deep is the Grand Canyon,

What did you do all day,

Why do friends become frenemies,

Have the kids gone down to play,

Did you take your supplements,

Has your bed become too wide,

Will you speak your truth someday,

Which secrets will you hide,

Who wakes you in the morning,

Who stirs your cup of tea,

Who stalks you on Facebook,

Who will never let you be?

Which new development blocks your sea view,

Who stole the key to your soul,

Tell me why the world goes round,

Will you have change for the next toll,

Who will take your midnight call,

Will they even care,

Tonight, will you dare to post your primal scream,

Or share your prime-time despair?

Whose daughter runs through twilight

Moving like a breeze,

Her skin as taut as a muffled drum,

Her worn-out shirt has a cuff undone,

Her ragged, scrawny silhouette,

Scraggy hair and cut-price jeans,

Fleeing wraith on spindly legs,

To catch the last train home?

Who’ll string the beads of your existence,

Who’ll mark the passing of your days,

Who has the time to listen

Who has the words to explain

Someone’s daughter is running

Is there any one home who waits,

To answer all her questions

And tell her it’s not too late

Or why those she would least expect,

Had left, along the way

Or how love can turn to hate,

And why those that she had needed most,

Chose to stay away?

— MS

Mumbai Poem/1

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