Remembered alleys, forgotten darknesses
By Amitabh Mitra
Living and loving is a distant rite, I had often agreed to. Like a stranger living, loving, too, returns in such uneven evenings and dawns. Like the river bells or boatman’s voice traversing the dark, like the ruins at Hauz Khas in a sudden flutter of pigeon wings, like the crowd at Karol Bagh talking to people behind us, loving is sleepless in corridors, in trains when a blue azure sky turns maddeningly grey. The first drops of rain I could never catch, you decided then the victor is still pardonable. Defeat is loving; and loving, the first drops of rain slipped past our many lives, many a times. Defeat is your eyes, your smile, your silence in such sand-stretched storms. Living itself remains a defeat of times, eras always build up again.
Transkei Landscape; gouache on paper
To be free is all we ever need. The age-old streets at Johannesburg are the same as in Delhi. One reflected its own reflection of the conqueror and the vanquished and the other spoke of once rusted rivers, now barely an overcrowded thread. Each in its own way remembered their ancient strife; season in layers resented the estrangement of evenings and darkness. Today as I stand on a Dutch sounding street in Johannesburg, evenings of jacaranda flower remind me of its age and many such lost livings. Like me, you, too, might have been on an endangered street; Saturday reasoning at dusk might even have the aroma of Karim’s at Chitli Qabar. We once talked about freedom here while watching pigeons fly. You said how we can have freedom when there are so many threads pulling the kites and so many skies living our lives. Brimming with tears from the hot kebab, we laughed the sunset of many such small beginnings.
Gwalior; charcoal and acrylic on paper
Text from the unpublished book, Stranger than a Sun
Amitabh Mitra is a poet/artist/publisher and a medical doctor. A widely published poet in the web and print, Amitabh has seven books of poetry and has exhibited his poetry-art all over the world. His unique style fuses words into almost lyrical dream-like images, exploring muted corners of life taken over a sudden rush-hour time. Amitabh brings forth poetry that seems to peep from behind veils and shadows, waylaid in a mind state in Johannesburg and New York, all merging in an unforgettable ecstatic experience. His art has been used extensively in book and medical journal covers. Amitabh believes in fusing poetry, visual arts and medicine, and in recognizing this harmony as treatment—beyond conventional rules and towards ultimate healing.
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