Mumbai city Rekhta blog

Shahr Namaah Banaam Mumbai

I am Mumbai. Not long ago, I was known as Bombay. Still some call me by my old name because they love me– as one loves a dear one by names more than one.

I have told my tale many a time and in many languages. I wouldn’t tell it again. I would rather let a poet of mine speak for me for all I am. Here is my Urdu poet, Ali Sardar Jafri, who looks at me in myriad images.

A shore green and live
the songs of sand and water
the liquid face of a smiling sea
pieces of the moon and the sun
million mirrors spread over the waves
boats hiding their heads in sails’ covers
nets gone deeper in the blue sea
fishes drying up on the soil
banks like carved statues of stone
that have emerged dancing from the Elephanta caves
night with magic collyrium in their eyes
evening bathed in the moisture of blue breeze
mornings in the thin attire of dew
rows of sleepy mountain ranges
thick jungle shadows
the fragrance of soil
buds spreading aroma
stones and rocks
embracing the Arabian sea in arms
those high mansions placed on rocks
on smooth walls
shadows of murders, plunders, cowardice, profiteering
silk sarees
velvet bodies, cats with poisonous nails
thirst for blood in the khadi attire

Mumabi Blog Rekhta

dazzling lights, parks, gardens, museums
statues of marble, men of metal
symbols of cold and grim greatness
eyes shorn of vision, lips without sound, hands lifeless
reminders of Hind’s helplessness and slavery
the live fire temples of hundred years
the flames of coin and sandal
embers of aloe wood and ambergris
chawls, dust of penury, gloom
dirt and stink
rot all around
humans sleeping on pathways
bodies spread out on sacks and pieces of paper, shrivelled limbs
bones bulging out of wound’s sleeves
hordes of lepers
huddled habitats as blind wells
kids devoid of warm embrace and laps of love
tied with ropes like goats
their mothers haven’t yet come back from factories
chimneys with hairs spread like witches
factories roaring
bathed in the smell of blood and sweat
blood flowing through the drains of capitalism
boiling in furnaces
congealing as cold coins

Mumbai Local Blog Rekhta

turning into gold and silver
rows of lights in the windows of banks
roads moving day and night
breathing
humans flowing like flood in desires’ declivity
chor bazaar, betting, gambling
race horses, ministers
cinema, girls, actors, clowns
each item on sale
carrots, radish, cucumbers
body, mind, poetry
knowledge, wisdom, politics
auction houses of lovely looks and lips
shops of glowing cheeks
bazaars of arms and breasts
stores of calves and thighs
touts of patriotism, traders of khadi
brokers of rationality, justice, purity, truth
this is Hindustan’s supremely beautiful city
Bombay, the bride of Deccan
a heaven in the lap of a hell
or shall I say
a hell in heaven’s lap
this is my city
though my body is not from this bin

Sea link mumbai blog rekhta

my soil was kneaded with the ganga water far from here
my heart is filled with the fragrance of the Himalayas
even then you are my city, Bombay
there are many a scared antelopes of desire in your gardens
I’ve enjoyed the cool breeze of your mounts
I’ve drunk my water from your limpid lakes
the smiling shells of your shores know me
long rows of coconut trees
the tumults and laughter of your blue sea
the silence of your lovely green suburbs
all their colours, smells know me
it is here my dreams got their eyes
and my love’s kisses found their lovely lips
Bombay
your chest has the poison of capital too
the antidote of revolt and revolution
an iron heart lies by your side
your nerves have the blood of labourers and sailors
a world of factories live in your laps
Sewri, Lal Bagh, Parel
and here your sons and daughters
their aching fingers
with each thread of cotton
make shrouds for country’s butchers

Mumbai city of dreams rekhta blog

Concept and text translated from Urdu: Anisur Rahman

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