Lipika and the City

Oft in her moments of tenderness

When Lipika would think of newer dress

And all the adornments that she could think of

A pair of jeans, a salwar suit, a cotton saree, lip gloss,

She would think how in her all those years

The city had grown through happiness and tears,

She had heard the day she was born

Her father had woken up early morn

And went to that maternity ward

Of a nursing home, at that boulevard,

And saw her by her mother’s side

Like a child of the festival of Eastertide,

Days later when she was brought home

She was kept by the window, where flowers bloomed

Radhachura, gandharaj, roses and red oleanders,

She grew by that window, as passed years,

Later when she was taken to the kindergarten

She was made to sit by casements with curtains,

Which gave her sights and sounds and visions,

In between her studies and various lessons,

She had seen how the city looked quiet

Early in the morning drenched by autumnal light,

Also in days of winter and woolens,

She had seen from classroom how pollens

Of marigolds got carried by butterflies and bees

She had seen all those lovely green vivacious trees,

And felt had there not been any place like the city

She would have never seen the beauty

Of nature as embodied in the serene life

Which she got hold of and oft took a dive

To replenish her mind with mellow fruitfulness

She thought of the city as her only place

To be, to grow, to know, to imagine and create

Her soul, her heart, which got perpetually set

By the passing images, scent and flavours

Of the city which also made her the Lover

Of man, woman and child, the poor, the wretched,

Those friends  who returned from wars crippled,

The city had witnessed worst nightmares and bloodsheds

The city had risen from slumber of the dead

And took to the streets with candlelights to claim Peace

The only way to save humanity from violence of the seventies,

She had grown with them too, hearing gunshots like thunders

Ripping apart the silence of the night, the sky dark without stars;

Many years later, one day of Autumn

Just before the durgotsav, at a mandap sudden

She saw for the first time how love came quiet

Standing before her, looking at her eyes,

That day too, she thought it must have been the city

Which gave her all – poetry, prose, paintings, flowers and the beauty.

                                                                                                  ~ Moinak Dutta

                                                                                                     Kolkata, India

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