Samosas and Oil – a poem by Urmila Mahajan

I often feel I’m sketching when I write poetry. This is a view from the window, written in sultry June, right before the onset of the monsoon, in Bangalore.

Like melting dairy-free chocolate
the square tiled yard glistens in the
shower of music from the living
room piano. Autos trundle past

the iron gate, as insistent as bikes
thundering in the lane where a
listless dog drags a woman swinging
her pointless cane, past the vendor

with sharp samosas in his voice
smothering yesterday’s oil in today’s
newspaper. Money plants struggle
in verandas crammed with city

lives too preoccupied to care
for other things besides.
Pot-bellied and backpacked
even pressured fore and aft

the man hangs in the balance
(much like our existence)
with eyes that peel the sky-
it’s long overdue and not the

way when he was younger
and the air was greener.
He tracks the points of no
return as dominoes fall.

Far from these musings
a schoolgirl masticates to
appease shooting hunger
focused on a short-lived

snack from the kirana store.
Only keys ebb and flow
as a koel pleads in the
soupy mirage for rain.

4 thoughts on “Samosas and Oil – a poem by Urmila Mahajan

  1. Aishwarya says:

    Auntie, this is beautiful. While reading, one’s mind sketches in all the characters perfectly – almost as if one were there before – only this time, it’s profound. There’s stunned silence after the poem ends with the music from the living room piano.
    Each one of your poems gives the reader an experience . I could read them all day.

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