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Navaratri At Goregaon
JS (November 9,1947 / Calcutta)

Navaratri At Goregaon

The woofers boom a bit before midnight
calling the faithful to the rites of autumn,
robbing you of the window of respite

from thunderous locals on the Western line.
Banish hopes of slumber to the wee hours, then,
for tonight, the first of a tiresome nine,

and watch if you choose the drift of dhando men -
rough, paunchy, vocal, inclined to pinch your seat,
fall into dressed lines drawn up tete-a-tete
against serried ranks of dark plump giggly behn

the slow tempo of advance and retreat
rising to crackle of sticks like volleyed shot,
rhythm and motion fusing a disparate lot
into gestalt grace.
Or turn away from it.
Just a bunch of gujjus dancing in the street.

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