Archive for the ‘India’ Category

I’ve committed to writing a poem a day for the month of April as part of National Poetry Writing Month.

 

21st April

 

Mumbai is … (part 3)

The washing

of a million people

hanging out to dry

under a polluted sky

 

a city touting

tours, ferry rides

garlands, pashminas

snapshots of you in front of a temple

 

a woman in a sari

motorbike side saddle

clasping her shopping

tighter than her husband

 

cricket on every ‘madan’

watched intently

by young men

under hessian shelters

 

a city unboundaried

unrestrained

undreamt

a city of perpetual motion

copyright Mike Hopkins 2012

I’ve committed to writing a poem a day for the month of April as part of National Poetry Writing Month.  This is day 19.

19th April

Mumbai is … (part 2)

a humpbacked cow

surrounded by manic traffic

munching contentedly

as if in a meadow

 

students sipping cappuccinos

in air conditioned coffee shops

discussing assignments

over wi-fi connected laptops

 

Women swimming

and laughing

in full saris

on Chowpatty Beach

 

Train carriage

safe haven

‘Ladies Only

For All the 24 hours’

 

a red light at every intersection

drivers respond with

“hear my horn

I’m coming through”

 

copyright Mike Hopkins 2012

I’ve committed to writing a poem a day for the month of April as part of National Poetry Writing Month.  This is day 18.

18th April

Today I’ve dipped into a journal I kept when I visited India two years ago. There’s lots of material in it. Mumbai made a big impression, so I’ll spread them over 2 or 3 days.

Mumbai is … (part 1)

a city of ten million car horns

at least 50% of them blaring

at any one time


a city of child beggars carrying small babies

deformed beggars displaying their stumps and mangled limbs

blind beggars, palms upheld in supplication


a city of crumbling buildings

damp and dark skinned

enfolding countless struggles to survive


a city of stylish Mumbai shops

designer boutiques

affluence unabashed by poverty


a city of two storey shacks

of iron, wood and cardboard

steps up to padlocked bedrooms


a city of black and yellow cabs

swarming like ladybirds along

every inch of every street


copyright Mike Hopkins 2012
Mumbai traffic

Mumbai traffic

I was in India for a few weeks in 2010.  I kept a sort of journal most of the time, but have not done much with the material.  So I’ve dug out this entry about the madness of city traffic in India.  Plus a few pics I took whilst crossing the street in Mumbai, and foolishly trying to get somewhere in a Mumbai taxi cab.

crossing the street in India

The safest way to cross the street in India

is to shelter downstream of a cow

the onrushing traffic will miraculously part

flowing either side of the  sacred animal

and reforming into a single mad rush a few yards further on

leaving you and the beast intact

the only problem with this strategy

is that the cow may remain in the middle of the street for some hours

If you are in more of a hurry to reach the other side

the next best strategy is to find a grey haired old woman

who is going the same way as you

Indian drivers respect the elderly nearly as much as cows

so you will probably make it to the other  side

by keeping the old woman between you and the traffic

If you  become impatient, and decide to forsake the old woman

in a mad dash to the kerb

whatever you do, don’t look back

Mumbai taxi cabs

Mumbai taxi cabs