My tired mind hopes for a stroll,
but the stench of traffic assaults me
and slams back the door.
Sigh! How I miss home.
The place where I grew,
jasmine wafted through the windows,
harsingar filled the roads.
Frogs lured me out,
crickets sang all night, and
fireflies gilded the path with gold.
The moon shone brighter,
stars seemed more and merrier.
roast potatoes called to me,
pulling me where men told stories
of ghosts on peepal tree,
and herds of deer.
I wonder where the deer are now,
for the pastures are long gone.
I feel sad for the Peepal tree ghosts
who lost their favorite haunts.
No Harsingar or Jasmine
no fireflies, owls, crickets and frogs,
dwell the unyielding cement roads.
No one gathers around woodfire
to share stories or lore.
How I miss the home
of my childhood,
for this is home no more.
This piece is inspired by Mohan, my friend and colleague, who told me about the real Bangalore, a place he lost over the past two decades of ‘development’.