Delhi’s Bandaged Heart – Tansy Troy’s Khan Market Poems, Front Lane
Poet in the city.
[Photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Their silks and shoes are as shiny as new money from the mint. They go about the lanes, democratically (and sportingly) breathing the city smog, before retreating back into their moneyed enclaves fitted with the best air purifiers premium credit cards can buy.
This could be Khan Market where Delhi’s super-rich come to see and be seen. This evening, poet Tansy Troy is strolling with daughter, Dasel, on the market’s Front Lane (see photo), and agrees to share two poems she wrote in the market, tearing through its clichés, giving us a more nuanced sense of a place that many of us affectionately call just Khan.
Outside the bookshop in which I first held you
(The Friend, says Hafiz, is both far and near),
founded just after Partition
split us all,
until we chose rebirth,
making and mending,
tying up odd karmic ends,
I stop: stand poised upon the threshold.
Once within, I comprehend
how Time is, yet cannot be.
If you too have stepped into this hallowed space,
then you are stepping into it still;
and when you walk past that cheery pot
of riotous yellow chrysanthemums,
or invite the passing chai walla
to pour you out a cup,
you too may feel my shadow here, as I feel yours.
Head bowed over book in prayer:
ghost lecteur, you observe
me reading the many yous
on every printed page.
Night Time Busk
At cocktail hour in night-time Khan,
embassy kids, out on the razz
are livin’ it up to the max.
Broken beats seep through the lanes,
from heaving bars where weighed-down waiters
deal in Sushi
Down the passage, buskers writhe,
their eyes alight with making it,
to a place where streets are paved
with such ephemeral gold.
once black hair,
head spins, locked limbs,
hands in the air.
small change collides,
dance as if there’s no tomorrow,
dance to turn the tide.