Delhiwale: The poet from Dhaka

Asmaul Husna, 31, is a master’s student of sociology (her second master’s) in South Asian University that hosts students from across the SAARC nations. She resides at the university hostel in Chanakyapuri.
This dry-hot evening, the woman from Bangladesh is talking of a rainy evening in September last year, when she was new to Delhi. PREMIUM
This dry-hot evening, the woman from Bangladesh is talking of a rainy evening in September last year, when she was new to Delhi.
Updated on May 06, 2022 04:42 PM IST
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ByMayank Austen Soofi, New Delhi

Her Dhaka is full of rickshaws. She often took late night rides in them to the old city, for a quick seekh at Bismillah hotel, or for a sherbet at Royal.

It is not as easy for her to get a rickshaw in Delhi—no rickshaws ply where she lives, here in the capital’s diplomatic enclave. Asmaul Husna, 31, is a master’s student of sociology (her second master’s) in South Asian University that hosts students from across the SAARC nations. She resides at the university hostel in Chanakyapuri. This dry-hot evening, the woman from Bangladesh is talking of a rainy evening in September last year, when she was new to Delhi. “I was in my balcony when I began writing a poem.” The silence following the rain “felt to me as if Delhi was taking a long, deep breath—it was both peaceful and passionate.” She stayed late finishing the poem, which finally gave her a sense of belonging to the metropolis. She shares that poem with us, which is a part of a series of several poems she has been writing, whose title is inspired from William Dalrymple’s book on Delhi.

City of Djinns, Part 1

after long humid years

the city takes a breath

a long one

passionate

the city spreads arms

to give warmth

to make it a home

mellow and peaceful

brings comfort in darkness

lulls into sleep in daylight

the city engulfs the anxieties

consumes the deep sighs of the travellers

each of them who are yearning

for distance home and memories

it becomes the shields

for wounded birds

bruised hearts

and happy songs

the city ornaments herself in yellow

at night

sings songs

of nostalgic days

where a shepherd comes from the hills

a boatman returns to his lover

a painter yearns for unrequited love

a professor lurks in the colonial hangover

a town boy hums Bob Marley

a lost girl carries the burdens of herself to rest in a non-existing place called home

a woman unchains the heaviness of unbearable expectations

the lullaby of the city

puts asleep

trees, dogs, lost souls

the cacophony of ethereal life

continues

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