This is that city,
that city of tea, Silk Cut and endless card games.

Where pavement bricks lie naked
under crumbling facades of cement,
where the pungent smell of tobacco and garbage
rise from near where the flower lady sits.
Beside her jasmines and daliahs and neem,
The pot-bellied pimp implores the world.

This is that city,
that city of tea, Silk Cut and endless card games.

Face after face after face
Calcutta, she takes them in.
Those who came from far away,
alongside those who will never return.
Punctuated by Church Lane kitchens,
College Street books, and adda.

This is that city,
that city of tea, Silk Cut and endless card games.

Yellow taxis, green autos,
fewer blue buses than red,
The whites went, as did the reds,
she watched waiting for her chai.
Many claimed her, but she bites back hard,
now the pretender arrives, ready to fall.

This is my city,
my city of tea, Silk Cut and endless card games.

*

Poet whose mind is pregnant with verse, novelist with stillborn pages or simply put, a flowery worded lotus eater, Abhijit Roy really doesn’t know what to call himself.

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