a poem

Sydney Scanlon - India


June 1, 2018

India: a Poem

The food is spicy as it clamors down my throat like flames licking their way up a pot of daal.

The people are every shade of gods eyes;

A field of flowers shashaying through the streets.

The language is a jumble of shadows dancing in the moonlight.

The climate is hot and wet clinging to my skin like a child.

The dirt crawls itself down your throat and pollutes all the pores screaming that you cannot wash off its mark.

The smells drift: coriander, curry, piss, garlic, shit, oil, sweat, and coconut with the wind of movement.

The love seeps itself into each step, head wag, dish, chai: evident in the incessant ringing of bangles, honking of horns, and buzzing of insects.

I arrived, a foreigner in a million ways to a home I had never seen and persistent faces I did not recognize. 

The masala-toned locals stared, without embarrassment, to the newest addition to the zoo.

My caged room became a window to:

a culture that runs deeper than the holy Ganges

a sense of self unified as families

peace stronger than the Pandavats

unadultered joy.

Below is an interpretation (read: rough translation) of the beginning of the poem into hindi.

खाना तिखा है जब गले के नीचे उतरता है और वह उबलती दाल के जैसा है

लोग सब रंग के है और भगवान कि प्रतिमा है
फलों का बग़ीचा है और रास्ते पर नाचना है

भाषा परघाय और चंद्रमा का मिश्रण है

यहाँ की हवा गरम है और वह मुझे एक घोटे से बच्चे की तरह लिपटती है

गंदगी अपने गले से नीचे है और वह सब छिद्रों को बंद करती है और हम इसे साफ़ नहीं कर सकते

घनिया मसाला अदरक पसीना तेल और नारियल का सुगंध हवा के सायं झूमता है

भारत की mitrti में प्यार के साथ चाय और क़दम मी घुलते है
और प्यार को चूड़ी की खनक में गाड़ी के हॉनी में और रात कीड़े में महसूस कर सकते है


Sydney Scanlon