–only automobile-choked roads, stretched out like the bloated pythons, post-lunch!
A ceaseless avalanche of costly brands of swift wheels; universal killers of the cities, in slow-motion; humans gasping on broad avenues, off the Connaught Place and elsewhere, as if moving in the grey realms from the Second-Third-Fourth Circles–many wearing masks, despite wearing formals, in the post-modern version of the Dante’s Purgatory!
Long traffic grids. Green spaces shrunk.
Trees covered with fine dust and soot in the harsh sunlight; exhaust fumes sting eyes, scratch the exposed skin.
Urban menace–not addressed.
Gleaming malls, shops, hotels and wine outlets turn the residents into a 24X7 consumers, new-age binge,a trans-national tribute to Epicureanism.

In the malls across the ballooning cities of high-rises and ghettoes, here and elsewhere, it is the same.

The flâneur has seen the shoppers from middle-class homes go in religious frenzy and experience a collective orgasm after counting bags, eyes dazed, tongues lisping, legs weak, smiles triumphant, voice croaking–as they often do in cult gatherings; kind of jouissance in public places–acres of polished spaces with inviting shops well-lit manned by wage-slaves; like cages in red-light districts–the Reeperbahn replicated in an overpopulated nation, developing last 70 years, yet stuck in a time warp; selling-buying templates so common.

Die sündigste Meile!
Exclaims a German tourist, sotto voce.
Indeed! But others might disagree, the ones that thrive on big spends, pre-determined choices/mindsets by the big-ticker ad campaigns and high-decibel sales and heavy discounts–designed to turn cities into huge carnivals, days into super tournaments.

Outside gated communities–different ecosystems; localities; slums; mean streets.

You feel threatened in the day as well as in the dark. Women and girls–mere rag dolls, watched by predatory eyes.

Road rage.
Well, no longer numbing. Mere stats. Casualties, numbers.

Now, come on, let us go for a drink. Enjoy, this is week-end!
Women, too, join the rush for the high stools near the posh bar. Slashed prices. Happy hours!
It is freedom from the drudgery.
The Sisyphean tribe, breaks away from the profit cycles, temporarily.

–and dappled shadows everywhere; each deserted corner, lethal.
Entire landscapes–fluid, grey–turning into mass-produced Dali paintings, odd re-tellings of a subsequent spatial-temporality continuum in an identical style and grim image!


Sunil Sharma

Sunil Sharma

Sunil Sharma is Principal at Bharat College (University of Mumbai) at Badlapur, Mumbai Metropolitan Region, India. He is a bilingual critic, poet, literary interviewer, editor, translator, essayist and fiction writer. His short stories and poems have appeared in journals such as Hudson View (South Africa), The Plebian Rag and Bicycle Review (USA), Creative Saplings, Brown Critique and Kritya (India), the Seva Bharati Journal of English Studies (West Bengal), Labyrinth (Gwalior) and Poets International (Bangalore). Some of his poems and short stories have been anthologized in national and international collections. He is also a freelance journalist and serves on the advisory boards of international literary and online journals.

An author with 18 published books: Six collections of poetry; two of short fiction; one novel; a critical study of the novel, and, eight joint anthologies on prose, poetry and criticism, he is a recipient of the UK-based Destiny Poets’ inaugural Poet of the Year award—2012. His poems were published in the prestigious UN project: Happiness: The Delight-Tree: An Anthology of Contemporary International Poetry, in the year 2015.

Sunil edits the English section of the monthly bilingual journal Setu published from Pittsburgh, USA