Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Urban poetry

 The metro station is familiar territory but it is cold and impersonal. It’s all shining steel, hard stone and bright lights. It is also arms, legs, heads, hair, skin, breath and sweat. But it is here that some fleeting moments of sheer beauty are created by chance. Right here, in the spaces between bodies, stone and metal.

Walking into this cavernous underground labyrinth stuffed full of flesh and things, I am drawn to this couple. Their hands are moving, but their mouths only just. It’s as if someone filtered out all the noise and what is left is pure communication – stretched mesmerizingly thin around them like the rainbow-surface of a soap bubble. And in this bubble around them the space seems to expand with each gesture-for-word. Theirs, I realize, is a silence, which in the absence of words is more than just a lack of sound. It’s an abundance of calm. They talk without speaking. And all around them are words being spoken, yet nothing is being said.

And then there is me.

Smiling like a fool, overjoyed at this urban poetry being written a few hundred feet under the earth, set to music by trundling trains of gleaming silver.

So what is it about a mundane metro commute and two people talking to each other in sign language, that is so unspeakably poetic? It’s like a missed heartbeat in the racing pulse of life in the city. Exhilarating, this precious pause.


Anonymous said...

Very fine piece of writing...

raghu said...

Writing is your companion through the darkest and the brightest days of your life. It has a life of its own and that lastingness, so essential, and so rare, and which is a matter of envy. You have a gift of language, a natural gift and an eye and ear for subjects and material, that one might easily overlook, as in this case of this couple in the rainbow-surface soap bubble, and few possess such a combination. Writing is a medium and device, through which one sees the most and best of you. Perhaps if you sit down to it, what you can do might astonish you.

This piece, 'urban poetry', dazzles, i think, not only because of its pertinent theme and its near-perfect expression, but also because, though a non-fiction, it has the vivacity and artifice of a fiction too, which makes it a true literature. It stands tall, and deep, and alone and it shimmers.

All the best. Always.