Delhi the grand old woman

Delhi, the grand old woman .

Delhi comes to me
With the scent of my granny
Old and bearer of all that
Our ancestral house at Daryaganj stood for-
Books everywhere,
Piles of them on desks and floor,

Then a little moving away from there
Will put me invariably at entry points
Of galis and kuchas- several of them;
Modernity has installed cables all over the city
They hang like loose strings of memory linking the old with the new,

But given the chance to go astray,
I would choose the old galis sure
And dip my nose and fingers and soul
At Batashe wali or Anwar Ali,
The wooden brackets with ornate designs upon them at the havelis would filter rays of twilight sun
Upon the dusty floor
And I would perhaps sit with Mirza Ghalib saab in his last haveli
At Ballimaran;

Given the chance
I would stop for a while at Behram Khan Tiraha and admire the peepul tree there
Majestically guarding the three lanes running to three different directions,
Given a chance,
I would take the hand of my granny
And sit before her
Only to hear her stories.

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