The Beauty of the Beast

19 Aug

The City, she’s a mean beast.

Breathing prickly, sweaty beads down the commuter’s neck,

nudging him off trains and cackling when he flounders,

one foot on, the other in mid-air,

dancing in limbo

between metal and eternity.

The City, she’s a mean beast.

To the old man walking into the traffic’s roar,

she swerves around him, honking, screeching,

glaring her bloodshot sleeplessness

into his moist, ancient eyes

dreaming of calmer days

when wheels and horns meant the annual dussehra fair.

The City, she’s a mean beast.

Eating up spaces alive,

devouring, gorging, sucking playgrounds and the sea

wings, leaves and humanity

into her bottomless pit,

her mouth ever-widening, her tongue anticipating,

her rumbles deafening the uneasy calm.

The City, she’s a mean beast.

Distorting definitions of home,

of space, time and relationships,

and dimensions unknown,

knowing we will come to her,

knowing we shall obey,

chortling in unmasked delight

at our masochistic, self-flagellating,

tear-stained, emotion-choked,

submissive, obsequious,




17 Responses to “The Beauty of the Beast”

  1. Piper.. August 19, 2008 at 10:22 pm #

    wow! Brilliant as always(for lack of better words!)..

  2. rajni August 20, 2008 at 10:14 am #

    Having just encountered the train bit, I agree:)
    And Pateti Mubarak!

  3. D August 20, 2008 at 10:57 am #

    Wonderful read. An accurate summing up of life in the city.

  4. Orange Jammies August 20, 2008 at 3:41 pm #

    Piper: Now, now. You’re embarrassing me. 😳

    Rajni: 😀 Thank you! (Although Pateti is the day before New Year.)

    D: I wonder if all cities are equally nasty. Probably. What do you think? 🙂

  5. rajni August 21, 2008 at 10:28 am #

    Thanks for clearing up the cofusion.I always get mixed up & HAPPY NEW YEAR TOO:)

  6. Abha August 21, 2008 at 3:31 pm #

    brilliant! brillaint! and you identify mopre with it when you have grown up in mumbai!

    great stuff woman!


  7. Thinking Cramps August 21, 2008 at 4:03 pm #

    “between metal and eternity” – wow. That was perfect. I spent barely a year in Bombay, but this really spoke to me.

  8. Orange Jammies August 21, 2008 at 7:37 pm #

    Rajni: Anytime. Even most Parsis are confused about this one. 🙂 And thank you again. The thought counted.

    Abha: Did you grow up in Bombay?

    Thinking Cramps: Thanks, girl. 🙂

  9. dipali August 21, 2008 at 7:43 pm #

    This was wonderful, OJ.

  10. Orange Jammies August 21, 2008 at 7:55 pm #

    Dipali: It demanded to be written. And so I complied.

  11. Abha August 22, 2008 at 3:29 pm #

    yup yup!! Bombayite thru n thru! met jam alo wahi! and then moved to bengaluru post shaadi!

    so 25 years of existence were pretty much spent experiencing the poem! 🙂


  12. Orange Jammies August 22, 2008 at 3:48 pm #

    Abha: Coolness. 😀 You’re an aamchi mulgi then.

  13. Gulshan Aunty September 3, 2008 at 7:14 pm #


  14. Orange Jammies September 3, 2008 at 7:15 pm #

    Aunty G: ?

  15. wordjunkie November 29, 2008 at 7:52 pm #

    Just read this…. but she isn”t a mean beast at all, is she? She’s a petulant, wilful, moody little child who wants you to love her as she is, even as she struggles with whatever that is.

  16. Orange Jammies November 29, 2008 at 9:36 pm #

    wordjunkie: Oh but she is. Perfectly beastly. But it’s real when you love deeply, wholly, devotedly, in spite of imperfections.


  1. Of Home, Heart and Horror « Wisdom Wears Neon Pyjamas - November 29, 2008

    […] I know she’s not perfect. I bemoan the fact that my children will have no parks, no schools, no animals to see. (When I get back to wanting children, that is. Right now I’m too busy questioning why we bring them into this mess.) I know there are too many cars, too few arterial roads and that the underworld-Bollywood nexus thrives like lice on a festering scalp. I know the Love Grove sewer at Worli smells even as the Atria Mall right ahead showcases French and Spanish couture. I know rats run over diners’ feet at the Bade Miyan eatery where the RDX was discovered. And I face despairing parents every day as they jostle for a spot in the limited schools. My parents knew this when they conceived me and their parents before them. But each generation has raised people who love their home unwisely and I know mine will too. And when the sixth generation of Bombayites is ready to hit its beloved streets, my friends, I hope to be here. To see my children and theirs breathe in with delight the polluted, addictive, sacred air of this, my beautiful, beautiful city. […]

Here's a bar of chocolate. Now talk to me. :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: