Hum Tere Shehar Mein Ö

Of course, the street sings the situation

Freeze FRAME


When asked what is it that you look forward to when you travel to a new city, Jeet Thayil, a distinguished poet and one-time journalist, says, ďItís the rhythm of a city. That feeling you get when you walk on the streets of a strange cityĒ.
Of course, the street sings the situation. It tells the story. Of place and people. The strange faces, the strange facades. And the strange culture that seems to reflect certain similarity and several differences.
Besides, the street is a manifestation of both blatant and clandestine facts of any place. From westernized aroma to traditional smell, the street displays the binary picture. From bustling markets and malls to the guarded fringes, the city puts on view the uneasy peace as well as the undercurrent of violence.
The street indicates that fear runs parallel to tranquility. The concord is conditional to conflict. The politicians are conceited and corrupt. The civil groups are both complacent and confused. And above all, common masses are the fodder of any political industry.
The street also shows the empathy with vast majority of poor illiterates and miniscule educated elite. The life is varied and living is divergent. Yet, the street accommodates the both.
Further, the street echoes that it is the potent battleground of ideologies. There is always a war going upon it.  It is usually ruthless and inhumane, but at times it is also silently powerful. Both rebellions and revolutions emanate out of it.
The street is a turf of tortures, visible and invisible. Of tyranny, heard and unheard. Of marches, violent and peaceful. Of killings, mystified and mourned.
Street is also the witness to betrayals of history. To breaking of public mind and making of an otherwise nation. To covert conspiracies that bounce back and bring an ugly storm. To disowning of commitments and false promises.
The street has lost its charm. Itís value. Itís essence. Itís spirit. Itís God. It is lifeless. The street boys and girls have disregarded their mores. The thinking class has put out many critical things of their mind. Ghosts of the streetís history haunt it. A strange eerie envelops its skies. It is overshadowed by bloodbath and brutality.
And most importantly, the street is a reminder of the fall of a nation, the smashing down of a great dream that sow the seed of its existence. Blood bleeds over it. Tears roll over it. And, an outsider moans over itó
Hum Tere Shehar Mein Aaye Hain
Musafir Ki Tarah
Apani Aankho Mein Chhupa
Rakkhe Hai Juganu Meine
          Apani Palko Pe Saja
Rakkhe Hain Aansu Meine
        Meri Aankho Ko Bhi
Barsaat Ka Mauqa De DeÖ.
Sirf Do-Chaar
Sawalat Ka Mauqa De DeÖ.

Jeet Thayil talked about the rhythm of a city. The rhythm is there, but itís fabricated and deceptive. The sound is shrill. The sense is shallow. When street becomes a noisy playground where multiple players try their fortune, and wreak havoc for their vested interests, the nation trembles and shakes. The Bard of East is shocked.
Nothing memorable remains to be taken back by a traveler except a mental montage of betrayal, bitterness and bereavementó
Kuchh Yaadagaar-e-Shahar-e-Sitamagar
 Hi Le Chalein
Aaye Hain Is Gali Mein
To Patthar Hi Le Chalein

(The columnist teaches at Media Education Research Centre, MERC, University of Kashmir. Feedback at

Lastupdate on : Sat, 12 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 12 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 13 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST

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