Delhi’s Bandaged Heart – Nayan Sharma ‘Vidharmi’’s Poem on Corona, DLF Phase III
Poetry in the city.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Really, is Gurgaon all about soulless malls and office towers? That’s how unimaginative Delhi snobs like to diss the Millennium City in the Greater Delhi Region.
It’s obviously untrue. Just think of it: how could a place where people have come to work and live from across India, and the world, be without soul?
Indeed, just a month back a poet moved to this city and is making it his own.
“It’s a new experience,” gushes Nayan Sharma ‘Vidharmi’, who came in early March from the town of Shivpuri, in Madhya Pradesh, after landing a content writer’s job in an education portal. “I like this city’s modernity, its pace. I especially enjoy my walk from office to my apartment everyday” until, of course, the coronavirus-triggered lockdown made it impossible for the time.
Just 21, Mr Sharma is holed up by himself in a tiny apartment in DLF Phase III. He is talking on WhatsApp — the photos are taken through the phone screen that connects him to The Delhi Walla. These days, he says, he is spending the lockdown days “working from home, cooking, watching good films, and reading”—he’s fond of the poetry of WH Auden, Sylvia Plath and Vikram Seth. “In the evening I write poems.”
He agrees to share a poem with us that he penned recently in response to the lockdown. The first stanza refers to his father. “Papa passed away when I was 16. After having battled with severe depression for two years he committed suicide. He was fond of swimming and travelling.”
Things I miss the most right now
It’s been 5 years since the old man’s gone
And for the life of me I can’t remember what
Were the last words he spoke to me. It’s like an
Earworm stuck in my head, to which I neither know
The lyrics, nor the rhythm; just a face, one that I grew up
watching for 16 years, one whose very small glimpses I
still see when I look in the mirror on days when I’m too
exhausted to smile. How do I miss what I never remembered?
It’s been months since I saw my only friend who agreed that
You can never have enough succulents, and that Bougainvillea
sound fancier than they look, and that all the vogue is for poetic
(We even curated a list of all the words we knew collectively
that rhymed: Claustrophobia, Himalaya, Diarrhea, Hozier?)
He joked that I should write a poem about them. How do I write
a verse on something I have no enamor for?
It’s been an year since I visited the little city three hours away
from my home. The streets I remember as clearly as if the map’s
printed on the back of my eyelids; The old palace, the rooftop on
it’s west side that I wished to spend an evening on with my typewriter
as the sun would take a dip in the river Betwa,
the room that was once the queen’s,
the maze of staircases above it in which I lost my way
with two tourists who didn’t speak English, and of course,
the fakeer who shared his meals & his roadside bed with a white puppy?
How come I miss the city I’ve only roamed in a few dozen times,
but not the one I’ve grown in?
Poetry in the times of corona