The Lunchbox

A basket of aubergines I offer to you across the levels of the city
that, unknown to upstairs aunties, trains full of saajans penetrate daily.
This city is blocks and cinder, where we fall off parapets and towers
into steel dabbas, labyrinthine government files, or meherunissas.

The risks we partake daily as we brush dust off fans that sustain us
leave us unprepared for black swan mistakes, because
even though these pardesi swans are everywhere, they
are swallowed by bureaucracy, cyclical delivery, and cinema’s reverie.

One honeymoon is now a cold paratha, another an intricate pasanda.
Who do we unite to bless our barely different ideas
of gross national happiness? The switching hands before dabbas,
those are faceless. Cannot gift us scooters, let alone horses from arabias.

Little children everyday sing lakdi ki kathi, but to whom do the married sing?
The city completes our thoughts through the wisdom of auto rickshaws.
We become crockety in an onionopolis whose layers no longer move us,
but when they do, something shifts in bhutanese himalayas.

Reproducing barely different dreams through conventions of history
or mixing baazari ingredients into chai and roti in an alive daily,
we plod on until we are reminded: that in this tussle of tusk and ivory
our desires have to edge out. Let’s crown them. But… the city.