Delhi’s Bandaged Heart – Pallavi Barnwal, Connaught Place
Poetry in the city.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
A poet’s life isn’t easy. Pallavi Barnwal still has to shuttle daily to her day job. After all, one ought to pay the bills, and Ms Barnwal, a single mother in her 30s, also have to support her mom and son—they all live in Noida’s Sector 61.
Even so, she takes out time to write poetry at night some of which she publshes on her Facebook account. Like many verse-writers, “my poems often deal with my personal situation… about the fragility of relationships”.
Ms Barnwal is chatting this morning with The Delhi Walla in Connaught Place. On her way to work, she says that one of the lingering themes of her poetic oeuvre is infidelity—“because it’s close to my heart, and I have done it twice, I think”. Then, there is an attempt in her poems to reach out to the soul, “which is hidden behind so many curtains, and sometimes you get entangled in those curtains”.
An admirer of Kamala Das’s poetry, Ms Barnwal confesses to be also fascinated by writers who took their own lives. “Sylvia Plath for instance… not that I endorse self-harm, I just feel those people were not weak, they suffered greatly, they were strong,” she says.
Today, she shares the poem Unrequited Love that she wrote on her phone a couple of months ago while commuting in the Metro. “It’s inspired by the memory of a person who did not accept my love.”
The love that was not taken,
Returned as shards of pain,
Somewhere between the breath and beat
It stayed there for long,
Ate into my peace and happiness,
And bore fruits of distress.
What do I do with these fruits,
Who no one likes to have,
No one likes to listen to,
I keep them there in the heart
Until they rot in a mass
A poetess’s unrequited love