Tag Archives: mumbai


Twenty one million
people wake up every morning
and snort three lines.

Western,  Central and Eastern.

This coke trip called Mumbai.

And the frenzied mob with a
mad glint in their eyes
pour out to the streets
jostling, pushing, honking,
bitching, screaming, snarling,
scheming, plotting, betting,
climbing, loving, hating.

Helpless nervous twitches
In the clutches of
dreams and terrors.

Lonely fuck
hooked to the hamster
wheel of ambition.

Zombie armies of
efficiency who fuck
out of habit and drink
out of rage.

Running at breakneck
speed just to be in
the same place
till the heart
gives out.

Or the mind.

Expensive habit.
But then nothing is cheap.



This is a
performance poem.

Typed in the bumpy
backseat of an
three wheeled

Bouncing along
at breakneck speed
on potholed by lanes.

The air thick with
the smell of Jasmines
and urine.

I grip the edge
of the seat as we
whiz past
blurs of tired faces
bathed in
bright light.


We miss
a couple of  teenagers
on a bike by
by a whisker.

High speed Insults
are exchanged.

Cut to a
big round moon
shimmering over a
silver sea.

It’s insane.
Everyone in this town
is high.

This drug called Mumbai.


Every Sunday afternoon
young men from
the slum next to my
building play
cricket on the road.

I watch them
from my window

A pair of rickety bats.
a crate for stumps,
a dirty tennis ball.
That’s all they have.

But for a couple
of hours they are not
jobless and desperate,
addicts and alcoholics,
penniless and broken.

For a couple of
hours they escape from
the shit hole that
fate and time have
trapped them all in.

Their laughter and
screams disturbs the
siesta of the rich,
making them swear and

But the young men don’t give a fuck.

For two hours
they are the lords of
that stretch of asphalt.
Fierce gladiators
joined in battle.
Sweaty and skilled.

And gracious too.
Stopping their jousting
for passers by and passing cars.

The game ends when
it begins to get dark.
And the gladiators melt
away into the darkness.

On Monday morning
the road is back
to being just an ordinary road.
And the warriors wake up
knowing they will never win.

Till the next Sunday.

– People I know –

There is a coffin maker
whose shop I pass everyday
as I cycle through the
by-lanes of Bandra.

The owner is a man
older than time.

With face made kind
by seeing too many
untimely deaths.

He waves at me as
I go past his shop.
I wave back.

Sometimes I stop.

He gives me water
cool as heaven from
an earthen jar he keeps
next to him.

We chat.

“How’s business, uncle?”

“Super” He laughs
“People are dying like
there’s no tomorrow.

I laugh at this
and pedal away.

The lights come on
in high rises
as darkness falls over
the city that doesn’t sleep.

This city
that does everything
like there is no tomorrow.

City of dreams

She’s drunk and a
long way from home.

That small town, sweet girl
who used make
the world hold its breath
when she threw back
her head to laugh.

She doesn’t laugh
much now.

She doesn’t do anything
much but drink.

She had a life and a job
and knew happiness
before this city
stole it all from her.

Now she drinks herself to
sleep everyday and
hopes that when
she wakes up
everything will be

All she wakes up to
next morning is a blinding
headache, her kid late for
school, the help who didn’t
come agin, last nights dinner
stinking  on the table, eight
missed calls from her office.

‘Fuck  you’
she  screams
and gropes  blindly
through her tears,
till she finds the bottle
and takes a long
thirsty swig.

The drink calms her down.
And then she hears her little
girl sobbing.

She stumbles over and
kisses her her little
tear stained face whispering
‘I’m sorry’, ‘I’m sorry’,
‘I am so sorry, my love.’

And she really is.

But it really doesn’t matter.

To anyone

She’s just a dream
gone bad in the
city of dreams.