The pollution in Delhi is smothering–you will feel it practically the moment you set foot in any area of Delhi, though there are certain areas where the pollution is lesser as compared to some areas where it is almost impossible to breathe. You will notice even regular traffic police wearing masks, which is a clear sign that it is not you who is ‘too sensitive’ but even the citizens of the Capital understand and feels the pain.
It is during those days in 2015 when I was working in Delhi and had to travel from Gurgaon, where I was staying with my family, I wrote this poem. As you will notice at the end of the poem, I don’t hate Delhi, yet there is no craze to live in such a metro city either.
This Race has no Winners
Amidst the morning-hour-Ring-Road-rush of New Delhi, where you get your ironed shirt smudged with sweat, dirt, and a wide variety of perfumes and deodorants while jostling with the co-passenger of a minibus, you come to realize that your higher education hasn’t given you any comfort.
Unlike the race you ran in your school, which looked fare and fun, this race to earn hefty salaries and drive exotic cars, has no winners. Nobody is running; every vehicle has to crawl: be it a hatchback, a sedan, or an SUV.
Whoever takes part in this bumper-to-bumper driving rally of smoke-huffing machinery is perpetually late.
If you have enjoyed the arrival of rains with delicious mangoes, apricot, and black plum; took a splash in the pond of your village, you will realize that no packaged juice can give you the same taste.
If you have sat across makeshift bonfires during some bone-chilling and teeth-chattering nights; sang popular songs with muffled voices, covering yourself with handloom blankets and woolen caps woven by your mother, you will realize that room-heaters and air-conditioning are not as cozy as they promise.
The concept of development is warped at its core, and robs you of simple joys of life, serving you drudgery wrapped in colored cellophane of modern systems and innovative gadgetry.
I don’t hate it, but I have the choice of not liking it.
I like to be folksy, homespun, and dream about a life that is not racing to nowhere.