I wrote this poem after I came back from India in July 2016. I went out there to meet a friend I made on Facebook (four years in the making). Some would call that reckless (perhaps) but I took a leap of faith.
Meeting author S.M.Y Rafi or as I know him, Rafi Syed was great. He longed to know what I thought of his novel The Traversers’ Memoirs.
Seeing Hyderabad from the roof of his flat’s building showed me that it’s a city that towers. From there I saw a sort of shroud before I even saw the stray dogs and cats or even the vehicles.
Under that “vapourish” canopy, the cars and taxis and bikes played their own version of Mario Kart and that’s why I called this poem Cloud City. Not coincidentally after the place from George Lucas’ Star Wars.
Vehicles speed down the highway, as stray cats
and dogs sprawl in the streets, gasping for
breath on moistureless heat, entrapped by the
canopy of the forest. High-rise
Hyderabad is polluted from the some twelve
million souls. Streets full of dips and holes due
to the need for speed like they’re racing down
Rainbow Road trying not to fall off (living dangerously).
Poverty and homelessness are abundant,
preventive efforts are redundant, to no avail as
many spill onto the railway tracks, widening the
cracks of famine and squalor: it’s a shame, because
India holds many backward ideologies but
not all left by the English anthologies.
Market Day: customers boisterously barter
and on tourists, they set a course to charter.
Pockets rustle: their eyes wide like a cavern’s
mouth – busy, dry and loud with
infinte crowds of salespeople hustling
for money – and that’s the capitalist way.