Udaipur, Rajasthan, India.
here is the poem that I wrote for the introduction of the book:
to the circus-like horns from
overcrowded buses passing by
my bedroom, that belonged to my grandparents,
whom I never really got to know.
Voices echo behind my wooden door;
uncles, aunts, cousins, and parents
chatting with their breakfast chai.
I pick myself up, only to hear my tiny bones crackle
in disagreement with this merciless mattress.
Those archaic ceiling fans that dangle above me are silent,
the power is out, like usual.
I fill my stomach with roti, boti, and rice,
I kick start my scooter, my adventure begins.
Herds of two-, three-, and four-wheeled vehicles charge past me.
Families of four, five, or more
hanging from the handlebars of Hero Hondas.
Vehicles scream at each other through congested streets
holy cows, stray animals, and traffic circles.
Everyone seems to be in a rush, to go
somewhere I have never found.
tempos overtake me, full of
giggly girls and beaming boys, off to school.
I duck into a side street and try my best to zigzag
through narrow gulleys and alleyways,
a couple more turns and curves and...there it is,
the vegetable market.
My eyes burst open to absorb the
kaleidoscope of colors that surround me.
Camouflaged faces of all ages,
Weathered, soft, wrinkled, smooth
hidden under orange mountains of masala.
Night is falling
I cruise along Rani Road, gazing at one of the half-empty lakes,
An elegant, floating garden and an obsolete observatory
sit peacefully in the middle of Fateh Sagar.
In a few hours this road will be a wild river,
overflowing with lights, littering, and loitering.
Sticky fingers will clench Mango Dolly popsicle sticks,
glass Thumsup bottles rattle in the calm breeze.
Lovers will sit and dream of their futures, while
elders will remember the rain,
wondering, when will the water return?
I turn towards home
With a squeeze and a twist of the throttle, I blast off
My eyes begin to water as I fly down dirty, dimly lit streets.