Mumbai Local/Shraddha’s Poem – Oorna

In the Ladies Compartment, three times over:
“Tu bhenchod.”
“Nai, tu bhenchod.”

A morning chant.

Nothing elicits more rage
than a gaze disrupted
by an unsolicited elbow.
Eyes return to the screen
with otherworldly restraint.

Oh Sushmita,
that chiffon sari
that soft nationalism
those elaborate dance sequences
are images lodged
inside many a 20-somethings –
formative impressions,
brought to you by YouTube.

If only you appeared,
leaning out of the compartment
with your fluttering wet pallu;
I’m sure the rest of us ladies
would break into qawwalis
as tribute.

We’re ritualistic folk, you see.

Oorna is a writer and researcher based in Mumbai.

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