Below, are reviews of two poems that I read over the weekend, with little doodles that I made while reading the same.
TRAFFIC LIGHTS – ARUN KOLATKAR
Traffic Lights is a very fast paced poem. There is no punctuation throughout the poem, and so, you end up reading the poem, without a pause. It has a very general viewpoint. It starts off with and introduction which sets the scene and the mood of the poem.
Arun Kolatkar starts by talking about the fifty motorcyclists and their ride in the middle of the night. The reader doesn’t have a clear sense as to who the motorcyclists are. A few lines later when the poet talks about the “wailing cherry top” the reader understands that he’s talking about a politician. I liked the way he has referred the siren of the car as a “wailing cherry top”. Furthermore, we soon know that he is actually taking about the President.
“Raising a storm of protest in its wake.” I like how this phrase is talking about the “protests” made by the anthropomorphic dead leaves and scraps of paper. Its nice to maybe it’s suggesting something else as well. This may be the poet’s indirect way of suggesting the fact that the President may not have been liked by all. Maybe there would have been a few people who would have been against him.
The poet then goes on to talk about the traffic lights and their relationship. He completely ignores the people who are concerned in this scene. He gives the traffic lights precedence over the people.
He finds their relationship similar to that of ill-fated lovers. He talks about how they are separated by only by an empty street. However they continue sending signals to each other throughout the night, but can never meet. He talks about how these traffic lights are so engrossed in one another, that they don’t seem to notice the President’s car passing by, in spite of all the attention it seeks. This behavior of the traffic lights is much like that of two lovers, who are completely into one another. They don’t seem to pay attention to anything other than each other. Sometimes lovers are separated by “an empty street” for no solid reason. That’s the only thing separating theme. They still love each other and continue sending signals to one another about this. However , like the limbless traffic lights, they may never meet. And burn this passion with them, when they die.
THE VIEW FROM CHINCHPOKLI – DILIP CHITRE:
“The View from Chinchpokli,” is a very honest poem. It doesn’t have any boundaries. Because of how honest and to the point it is, I feel its very relatable. It has a kind of continuity running through it. The poet moves from one topic to another without spending too much time on one particular topic.
This poem gives a detailed description about a day in the life of the poet, living in Bombay. The poet mentions different places and landmarks of Mumbai throughout the poem.
The first few lines of the poem talks about the poets morning routine. It is evident that other people have already begun their day. This is evident when he talks about how the thought of going out onto the main road terrifies him due to the crowd. He says that hundreds of workers may be returning back from their night shift and the bus stop would be extremely crowded.
I like how the poet mentions how he sweats in spite of the ceiling fan whirring above. This is a really nice detail. It speaks volumes about the humidity in the air and the kind of weather we experience in Bombay.
The poet refers to himself as a Hindu hero, reluctantly riding his chariot to the center of the battlefield. This indicates that he may not have liked his job or he wasn’t too passionate about it.
I like how he has dismissed Nariman Point’s similarity to Manhattan.
Each place has its very own identity. Perhaps, to some people Nariman Point does seem like Manhattan. However, only the people of Bombay know about its true character and identity.
He says he passes Victoria Gardens Zoo without a blink of his eye. To some people, especially to those who don’t live around the area, this would’ve been a wonderful landmark. However, the poet takes this same route every single day and passes by the same place always. Probably that’s why he is unimpressed as he passes by it.
Throughout the poem, the poet has referred to Mumbai as Bombay. Also, he has referred to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terinus as Victoria Terminus. Thus, you can safely conclude that he was one of the few Indians, who supported the British Raj or saw its benefits to Indian Society. He says that he observes Flora Fountain and the Bombay High Court absentmindedly. This, once again suggests that he takes the same route to work everyday.
I like the references he as made to the different insects. I think they fit really well. Especially the part where he mentions the mosquitoes.
In the last couple of lines, the poet talks about him getting stoned. He compares himself to Shiva, who he refers to as a “minor Hindu God”.
There are a few theories which suggest that Shiva may have smoked weed. These lines in a way indicate that the poet has very little self worth. Its safe to conclude that he considers himself incompetent and miserable and doesn’t respect the opinions of people who look up to him.
Here is a super fast poem that my friends and I wrote about Bombay. I’ve also included a rough draft of the poem to understand our process. Make sure to read the poem as fast as you can. It has been written keeping the pace in mind. Also, we were given just fifteen minutes to come up with a poem.
The city is super fast, and so is our brain.
I’m always in a hurry to catch a train.
Messed up, chaotic is the life in Bombay.
Trains running through the city matters,
Like a board of snakes and ladders.
Multi-tasking through the service process.
Eagerly waiting for that one recess.
A blinded breath in the city air,
Can fill your lungs with flavors, vibes and colors of the city fair.
Everyone’s after the goals they’ve set,
Moving on, but still not there yet.