Hyacinth floats on humid water.
The river is now a dirty trickle.
Black winged Stilts teeter on spindly legs
plunging needlepoint beaks into the sludge.
Sharp eyed Kites glide low
on the lookout for carrion.
At a crossroad signal
a man on motorbike checks his reflection in perspex clad towers.
Buses, rickshaws, Santros, tempos with their raucous horns
warn others of forward, reverse, sideways movement
before rolling on like mustard seeds.
Ancient crumbling back-to-back
houses with wooden latticed windows chin-up to their tall RCC cousins.
The endless continuum of shops
Selling synthetic carpets, cooking utensils, and zari-work kurtas
heaves and throbs like a living organism.
Vehicle exhaust and cigarette fumes
mingle with the hiss and sizzle of streetside schezwan rice
and mobile ringtones from denim pockets.
In the honeycomb maze of streets is a small wooden door.
Inside are walls of blue black Deccan basalt- cool to touch
And a statue anointed vermilion.
The mandatory brass bell trembles mid-air.
Here sunlight tiptoes in
and silence pools.
(Published in Reading Hour, May 2012)