Where Did My City Go?

With foggy mornings and bitter nights
With outdoor fires and trivial revelry
With concerned grandparents and rebellious youths,
Where did those winters go?

With needless laughter and unprovoked cries
With shrill voices and unimpeded pace
With rosy faces and secondhand clothes,
Where did those children go?

With cajoling waiters and barbecue skies
With loitering bad boys and ill-advised families
With dirt cheap meals and thirty rupee tips,
Where did those dhabas go?

With crudely dressed schoolboys and anxious women
With smoky ceilings and vacant kitchens
With flirting and gazing and smiling and frowning,
Where did those cafes go?

With coordinated outfits and over sized sunglasses
With Chanel bags and Burberry scarves
With mighty egos and tiny cups of kava,
Where did those aunties go?

With spontaneous potholes and disintegrated markings
With patchy dividers and poorly marked one-ways
With hapless drivers and tensions high,
Where did those streets go?

With sweaty brows and mismatched suits
With hunching backs and constant limps
With open Gold Leaf cigs and a thirst for chai,
Where did those workmen go?

With jutting terraces and ambient lighting
With one-too-many rooms and truncated gardens
With gated walls and hookah smoking chachas,
Where did those houses go?

With skin-tight jeans and loosely draped shawls
With seductive tantrums and lingering smiles
With fearless legs and contradictory statements,
Where did those women go?

With elaborate setups and valet parking
With disillusioned fuckboys and entitled students
With flowing booze and intermittent heating,
Where did those parties go?

With loud blazers and knotted hair
With curated exhibitions and disinterested crowds
With ambitious price tags and unresolved issues,
Where did those artists go?

With flaky books and unread magazines
With unsuccessful writers and nostalgic poets
With the decadent smell of faltering paper,
Where did those bookstores go?

With matchstick firecrackers and saggy balloons
With repackaged toys and expired chocolates
With multicolored smiles and tar-laden voices,
Where did those hawkers go?

With flightless birds and unsung gardens
With shifty salesmen and blushing girls
With run-down minarets and neglected paint jobs,
Where did my city go?

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3 comments

  1. Iris Orpi · January 10

    This piece enthralled me and educated me. I went willingly because it read like a totally insider-knowledge, unapologetic, balanced perspective where I could sense the longing for an older time without portraying it as simply, black-and-white better than the current. Your language was casual, taking both the good and the bad as parts of reality that have equal weights. There was musing, and there were commentaries on the side. Great piece!

    Like

    • Shameel Mazhar · January 10

      Iris, thanks for reading, following, and for your thoughtful feedback; I’m always looking for ways to improve my writing, and your reaction to the piece is an invaluable source of validation for me. I’m glad the poem came across to you as I had intended, and that you enjoyed it. Thanks again!

      Like

      • Iris Orpi · January 10

        The pleasure was all mine. I should be thanking you. I look forward to sniffing around the blog and reading more in my free time. Cheers!

        Liked by 1 person

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