‘Karol Bagh’ by Vitasta Raina #TheCityasMuseRunners Up
Vitasta Raina is an architect and a writer. She has published a fictional novel, Writer’s Block, and a book of poems, Someday Dreams. She blogs at http://theurbanexploratory.blogspot.in/
Comment: Vitasta sent in 5 entries, all exhibiting her deep interest in the city as well as her talent with words. However, the judges were impressed by the particular emotional connect of this poem, which laments the decay of her family’s ancestral home. Along with her entry, she wrote a note that outlines the context: “My maternal grandparents migrated to Karol Bagh, New Delhi, in 1947 during the Partition of India. After my grandfather’s death, my uncle’s family moved out of the Kothi to a high-rise gated prison in Gurgaon. Upon my return to Delhi in 2013, I was miserable to see my childhood home abandoned, and the neglected squallor of our once lively mohalla. These poems are perhaps eulogies as I mourn.”
Beautiful decay, I could eat you,
split your pale brown gills,
on an autumn afternoon,
and consume your cultural layers.
You with salty crust of ageless expression,
you with the wood grains, patterns of the sea,
of micro-beads and snowflakes,
fractals of societies’ self-relieved agony,
inchoate clusters of myth-ridden mohallas,
fungal communes of local habits;
I could collect your inexistent senses,
and break down your unchanged names.
Beautiful decay, on pavements,
in small-worlds, in rotting walls of colonies
alive past their expiration date,
souvenirs of once-life, tombs for now-death.
All Rights Reserved. ( C.). Vitasta Raina