Sunday, 1 May 2016

'Balle Balle' in Ballia

-Brian Mendonca

Jaguar down in Jaisalmer
Methi ki Pudiya in Barabanki
A sten gun bodyguard pleads no confidence
Lucknowi biryani laced with kebabs.

Rawa ke pakode at Ghazipur
Mukhtar Ansari - 'Locals fear to whisper his name.'
Hazaron Khwaishein -- 'Oo sakat nahin'
On NH 19 silence marks the roads
Petromax lanterns light up the dark.
Shutters firmly down in fear of brigands.

Our Lady's grotto near Brahma's shrine
Ballia's badlands skirt the Ganges
Kashi--Benaras-- Varanasi
Which is the name I must invoke?
At Mughalsarai station a cow on platform 5
As the Chambal Express wheezes into 1.

Come midnight the Eastern Rajdhanis
all meet up at Mughalsarai
From Calcutta, Guwahati, Dibrugarh and Patna
Hop on any one if your destination is Delhi
It's balle balle all the way -- especially here in Ballia!

Hazaron Khwaishein: (Urdu) Ghazal by Mirza Ghalib; 2176 Howrah-Gwalior Chambal Express

This poem written in 2007 was read by Brian to Raja Gupta, ex-colleague at Calangute Residency, Goa today afternoon. Self-Published in A Peace of India: Poems in Transit by Brian Mendonca (New Delhi, 2011)

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