walking down the lanes of bandra…

there is this quaint part
hidden in the midst
of a large, hip suburb
with big buildings on either side
with a suspension bridge on the third
stuck in time. between modernity.
this little village. stays afloat.
islamic architecture melts into christian porches
crosses at every turn that date to the 17th century.
drying teddy bears dot today’s presence
graffiti welcomes in freedom of expression
but tiny lanes curb expansion
many stories are whispered.
many people remembered.
history stays alive

i walk on
with the smell of morning chai.
the punch of garlic, ginger frying in oil
intermingled with the fresh bread
those smiling brown faces. stacking up red tomatoes
hidden curious glances.
covered up in burquas. and aunties in skirts.
a cross on a muslim house
a jain temple near the mosque

but walking down these bylanes
also with the dumps of garbage
at every corner with the potholed roads.
the open gutters that reflect neglect…
rampant littering. smelly turnings.
close the nose. shut my eyes. it lingers.
where have we lost our pride?
in ourselves and in our spaces?
where has it disappeared with independence?
from tha taj mahal to the village lanes of bandra…
it’s been a long journey.

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