08 January 2011

Calcutta Diaries-#1-Park Street

Pavements grey
Slick with
Thoughts and minds on the mend
And fray,
Agatha calls at the cemetery gate-
Her breath of putrid sickly,sweet mourning,wallowing-
Iron jaws wrought with rotting red roses-
Magnolias and mothballs..
Each in its mercurial madness-
Raises it’s sightless heart and
As the flames lick my memory clean
Gold medallions searing holes on cold eyelids
And half –assed obituaries on a tottering hearse-
Agatha calls(frantic now,why!)
Yet I sing,
Like the finicky thorn bird that swallows its entrails
And refuses to die..
And then
(Like ashes to ashes and country worms to skin)
He stole my last refrain-
The rogue in the black cloak,
December rain.

The little droplets seared my skin as I made my lonely walk towards Park Street Metro.It was a long walk and my soles ached,for in fits of indicesiveness I had made 1and a half (either)ways of futile journeys. I had let two of my friends go ahead.I stayed back,with a purpose which exploded in my face like a pinata,and I made my way back again at 7pm with a dark cloud of *what ifs* as company.As two very elaborately semi-dressed women of the night pattered busy fingers and lips on their cell-phones, I crossed the road; bearing in mind my Bertha's words "We always walk on the left side of the road in India".I came across a pair of iron gates and a lonely lock bound in chains.South Park Cemetary-a colonial romance.The earliest grave dates back to 1768 while the last was erected in 1895.
It was after hours,and out of bounds.The darwan(guard) wrapped in a muffler that seemed to be green ,sat at a wooden school boy desk, a low watt bulb alight,hanging low enough to scorch his crown.
It was dark and compelling.But I passed.Flurry's and Music World.And then KFC.

The next week I went with a friend and his group of known(unkown to me) individuals.4'o clock in the afternoon it felt like a fuckin' picnic,and I-like a tourist in my own city.It was sunny,we chased crows  and picked flowers off the graves.They paid homage to David Hare while I chased some more crows and shoo-ed a street dog off a grave.
In the day time it was a different place.The charm had eloped through the backdoor,it would seem.
But something was mildly disturbing .
With a wave of learned,harried and hurried acceptance.
The tomb of Peter Archwell.
In loving memory of..
6th February -12th February 1788
Aged 6 days.
And fifty of its contemporaries.
Edit: I found this lovely article if you'd like to know more about the cemetary.It's just not bare facts and figures.Have a look!


  1. Even I like such places which have a history to them..at one point it was significant..now we go in with cameras.Your feelings are absolutely understandable :). You write beautifully as well..the 26 trdc meme was magnifique :D
    Thank you for reading :)

  2. Oh God! I just feel like crying and I know the hormones have nothing to do with it. I am always in awe of such places, there is just so much buried in these places which seem to have lost their fervour for some earthly reasons. Whenever I go to such places, i feel so great to be a part of such heritage and then sad, for this very place, someone's home, someone's palace is nothing to us but just a place to sightsee.

    I know i get a bit senti when it comes to such topics... but i must say Swets, you have written all of this so beautifully. The poem, ah! beautiful. I'd love to read more of your works... :-)

  3. Excellent post. Cheers. Love you!

  4. 6 days old?? That's too sad.

    I love the poem! When did you write it??


  5. Yes,apparently a lot of them died early.Medicine wasn't was advanced as now.

    LOl i wrote it in mid-December,the day I came back from my evening jaunt .

    <3 <3 youuuu.:)







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