On The Road


Whether in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai

Road scenes, yes, incredibly incredulous!

Drive through Kolkata Mahatma Gandhi Road straight

Rags hung across metal road dividers meet your eyes.

More attentive, these are but uniforms

Of Bharat Band washed on M.G. Road


Water supply? No problem, just unscrew the roadside hydrant

And Loa! A laundry instant to rid stubborn beetle leaf stains.

Scrub, rub, and beat hard without restrain.

Earn a living, The Bharat Band Play instruments,

and the drum for ceremonies and weddings.

My words, please do not misunderstand

It is not advertisement for The Bharat Band.

Let us switch over to Mumbai

It's no different to Kolkata, Chennai. Traffic woes

never cease, weary traveller never at ease.

Multiple compulsions take to the roads?

Mumbai hospitals magnetic pull

Surge patients through proper channel

Tata Memorial Centre, Parel

Life's high hopes with results -- Yes,

India's pride one of the best. Easy reach made arduous

To carcinoma control the path strewn with boulders --

decisive acid tests, on the roads.

Please continue through

Follow-ups, I, sigh


Again the roads need to be traversed

Nightmares in broad daylights

Sleazy operations. Men clothed as women

gyrate vulgar with outstretched palms.

Extortion at each traffic junction -- Volley of abuse

for not paying attention to loquacious eunuch demands.

Andheri, Bandra, Dadar, Khar, Borivili, Mallard.

O Lord! We pray for justice.

Three wheelers of Chennai roads spin you aimless

Though it is stones throw distance from temple to your hotel rooms.

Perhaps the driver is brand new on the roads

Yet to be familiar with the whereabouts of the various cities offers’ our nerves!

The meek and humble, God bless us!

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Metropolitan Mess of the Eyewitness: February 2003 India.

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