City a Sarai


The twilight of the azaan

The hope of the church bells

Aarti of reverence at Gaurishankar

Wisdom of gurbaani at Sheeshganj

They sip the creamy chai and break their morning bread

With skull caps and proud turbans, ancient hindu chants, rosemary beads and the cross

At my lobby, they call it Chandni Chowk

Such has been my history, alive and kicking since I don’t know when

Such has been my guest list, flip through the register and you will get some sense

I have hosted Oh so many of them over the years

Some called me home and added to my character

Some borrowed from me and spread my demeanor

Some devastated me and brought me into tears

Yet every time I gathered myself piece by piece into greater grandeur

Such has been my resolve and such is my Zen

And today when I am asked what am I, Delhi a Sarai

I think of our most esteemed guests who made themselves home and sat on the throne

I think of those times when I was shimmering in diamond and all decked in gold

I think of the robbing marauders who raped me but couldn’t touch my soul

All those travelers who sat at the lounge and the stories that they told

The Presidential suites, some new, some dilapidated, some barren and some old

I think of Morrison Hotel, Hotel California, Eagles, and The Doors

Only if they knew me, Oh what a gem they would hold

I am Delhi a Sarai

From the dust I sprung

From my ashes I have arise

A la Hotel Phoenix am I

An amalgamation, confluence, pollination, precipitation, anthropological reaction, cosmetic evolution, differentiation, integration, linear equation, geometric progression, and simple harmonic motion, Of

The enchanted invaders, barbaric raiders, baptized settlers, international traders, exotic storytellers, royal highnesses, ghalib’s excesses, religious mystics, travelling gypsies, intellectual hippies

Many lost into oblivion

Yet some stood ground

Sand stone edifice of Lutyens and Shah Jehan

Iron pillar of the Guptas

Tall proclamation of Qutub Minar

Mesmerizing paraphernalia at the bazaar

Love and hate of Bin Tughlak

Kebabs, biryanis, and gajjak

Love children of the settlers

All the djinns of Alladdin

Spiritual excellency of Hazrat Nizamuddin

Poetic supremacy of Ghalib and Zouk

Mutiny of 1857 and Bahadur Shah Zafar

That maverick german who mastered Sanskrit like the blues magic of blind boy fuller

Friedrich Maximillian Muller

I can go on forever

The list is long

But let me stop

They have been my loyal guests

And add to my brand equity

But there’s only one that stands out

One who manifests in my ubiquity


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