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Delhiwale: Meet the commuter poet who weaves verses on way to work

Jasbir Chatterjee writes all her poems on her phone during the daily commute to work.

delhi Updated: Nov 13, 2017 13:44 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Mayank Austen Soofi
Hindustan Times
Delhi wale,Delhi metro,Delhi poet
Jasbir Chatterjee works in a luxury car dealership in Gurgaon and also writes poems.(Mayank Austen Soofi / HT Photo)

Do our office colleagues really know us? Take Jasbir Chatterjee. A Quality Manager in a luxury car dealership in Gurgaon, she knows everything about automobiles (don’t get her started on mileage and engines!). But nobody in her office knows she also writes poems and that she has been at it since childhood.

We met Ms Chatterjee both at her office and home. This evening, we are at her Vikas Puri flat. Her husband is at the dining table, her daughter is on the opposite sofa, and she is lovingly holding her mobile phone. “These days I write all my poems on my phone during the daily commute to work.”

While most of us see commuting as an irritant, Ms Chatterjee, who changes three trains to reach work in Gurgaon, has turned it into an art form. She exploits the rush hours by observing fellow commuters and turning those observations into poems.

Sometimes she also strikes up conversations with them. “Just the other day, an elderly woman was cribbing about the increase in Metro fare and we got talking and the chat went on and on.”

Often Ms Chatterjee sits down on the coach floor (it’s rare to get a seat) to key in a poem. One poem she wrote way back in 2006 appeared in a UK textbook. It was called The Delhi Metro. But today Ms Chatterjee is sharing with us a poem that has a bus stop as its setting.

STAYING AFLOAT


Here I am
At the bus stop,
Unemployed once again,
Waiting for the bus that would take me home...
Dark clouds are gathering
in the sky and it has started drizzling...
There’s a lump in my throat
and tears of dejection are gathering
behind the eyes, just about to overflow...
Suddenly Courage springs up inside me,
The lump disappears,
The tears dry up,
The bus arrives.
I gather my cloak of self-esteem around myself
and calmly, I get inside...
I stay afloat
and Life pushes me along...
Here I am
At home
Unemployed once again
Waiting for the phone call
That would change it all...
The sky is clear
and the sun is burning hot
There seems to be a big cross on my shoulders
and despair threatens
To pull me down...
Suddenly Courage springs up inside me,
The cross disappears,
Despair gives way to hope,
I send applications, I sew, I wash, I clean, do all my household chores
And calmly, I sit down to pray...
I stay afloat
and Life pushes me along...

First Published: Nov 13, 2017 13:22 IST