by Ayushi Rawat
“This was how it was with travel: one city gives you gifts, another robs you. One gives you the heart’s affections, the other destroys your soul. Cities and countries are as alive, as feeling, as fickle and uncertain as people. Their degrees of love and devotion are as varying as with any human relation. Just as one is good, another is bad.”
― Roman Payne, Cities & Countries
To a city that gifted me, robbed me, loved me, destroyed me and left me asking for more;
To Poona and my anticipated estrangement to Bombay.
My somersaulting heart
went right from Aundh gaon
to Bund Garden,
flip-flopping at Camp
and strip-teasing F.C. Road.
As the peths1 decided
not to meet me today,
with the Parsi-Irani cafés.
Standing at the University gate,
I thought about our
deep night passionate kisses,
our scorching sun-heated arguments,
our dates when,
you took me around
your dark, infamous corners
I remember swirling and spiralling
through them like a figure skater,
on my favorite parts of your body.
And I wake up realizing the time-space shuttle
that you’ve got me trapped into—
for it goes back and forth
craving, yearning, seducing.
Blowing on the anxiety dust on my
time trapped heart.
Is it because
I slept with another city,
for so many nights?
Is that why you kept me awake all night?
1 Peth is a Marathi word for localities in the city of Poona that were established in the time of the Marathas and Peshwas. Today the peths bear a mix of the busy markets and residences in the central part of Poona. These areas are largely, densely populated.