Aminabad

 

I stand here on this crowded street at Charbagh,
dreaming of Aminabad,
feeling a little sad and sick, as I count my failures.
Smoking, recognising, how for the last 36 years, almost always,
Never have I understood this idea that shines around the word:
Productivity.
Though, I know its definition, the calculations, alright.

Failed, I have. And always, I have failed to put things right
Years go by, as I realise
how I have attained this habit of inhabiting failure,
year after year,
year after year,
Ever since I was born.

Watching old men, Hindus and Muslims, sharing tea from the same cup,
A hundred Christian kids, after service, running out of the Hazratganj cathedral,
Women in hijab, wearing mascara
Biking, smoking Hukka
The Aazaan does not follow the time, its appropriate Raag
As Ma still believes, it would, in this rusted city.

But, Ambedkar must grace us all
At every corner,
Savitribai Phule sends us blessings with both of her hands.

To our rage then, our defiance,
We must lose. We must lose.
Rejoice this inability.

While the rest of the world seems satisfied,
Hyper productive, genetically modified, pre-defined.
Sprouting from the wild grass onto a full grown tree
within seconds, in real time
Successful, able, beautiful, safe
fitting all requirements of eligibility, looks, size.

Development, Modi says,
before every song on the FM radio, and
after every AIR news bulletin
Development for every kid who loves sports,
Development for every kid who does not know about the news
Development for every mom and dad who
spend their free time in Bollywood,
Development for them who love the TV news.

Development that feeds on my underdevelopment
Undergarments, my anger and my redundancy
Development through these democratic streets of old Lucknow
Development, women; through WTO -sponsored- -steady reduction of
LPG subsidies
Pre- lobbied design, SE4ALL, clean cooking and lighting, development,
Ki Moon's Ban post-retirement plans,
Development just through placing a random transformer in some of the villages in your state
Development through developed fudged data, sustainable,
Development through electricity, electric Indian English poets,
Nassal Word play, Nepotism, Festivals, half developed streets,
half dead 'patients etherised upon' the tables in well-lit MNC workstations.
Development through this poverty and sickness we imbibe.

Development, through fake claims on posters and banners
Development, 'mandir wahi banegi'
Yogi floating in through a drunk dead pub, development. UP Police
Dancing.

I am a zigzag curve in this land of sleek squares and rectangles.
I am not water
nor am I the tree.

I am just
the dust
that is mostly made of human skin.