Delhi, An Old Unwritten Poem

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[responsivevoice_button voice=”US English Male” buttontext=”Read out this Theel for me”]


The year is 1970.

A crumpled paper lies in my pocket, and this poem is yet to be written.

Wintry January afternoon, I am on a bus to Delhi.
Crumbling seats & sleepy passengers, I peek out of the rustic window
as the bus moves past

the old Tughlaqabad fort.

As I take its last glimpse, I hear a voice.
“Chaar Annas please,”

says the ticket collector

While handing me a small green ticket.

The bus stops at Jamia Milia. Through the window I see
my young grandfather, gleaming eyes & spirited face, tender youth flickering through his cigarette smoke.

I call out his name as loud as I can
but the bus moves forward, losing him behind
in the abyss of time.

Did he hear me?

I don’t know. I never will.

Bus now stands at Delhi’s Cannaught Place as I decide to get down.
Walking past white Ambassadors

& citrus blue Chetaks, I rush inside the
old majestic Regal.

The creased ticket in my hand reads ‘Mera Naam Joker, 5 PM .’ As the song starts playing, “Jaane Kahan Gaye Wo Din,”
my eyes land upon a familiar face with shimmering eyes & parted hair, demure smiles & shy giggles.

Raju’s final act has ended.

As people are getting up to leave, my eyes search for her
amidst the ocean of men.

Was she my young grandmother? I don’t know.
I never will.

It is already 9:30.

I light up a cold Charminar cigarette

& take a stroll to Shri Ram Centre. Canvasses are still on the ground
& the instruments are out still, winter doesn’t feel so cold here.

I take a seat under the old Peepal tree

& take out the crumpled paper to write this poem.
As I scrawl the first few words, I wake up.

The year is 2020.

My pockets seem to be empty. There’s no small, green bus ticket, neither I can find the
creased ticket to that 5 PM show.

But… But Oh!
There’s a piece of paper I find in my back pocket, and it says,

“The year is 1970.

A crumpled paper lies in my pocket and this
poem is yet to be written.”

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Readers' Reviews (1 reply)

  1. I can only say it was real good… Coz its the first time am reading a poem… Like leaving the poem I studied in school…. This poem has a deep meaning.. Had goosebumps reading it… Keep up the good work bhai…

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