Autopsy of an Old City

Autopsy of an Old City

Written by Aishwarya Roy

If Fitzgerald’s quote โ€” ‘๐˜ž๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ท๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ญ๐˜ด ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ง๐˜ง๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต ๐˜ข๐˜จ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด’ holds true, you must be having the soul of an eighty-five-year-old woman, lying on her deathbed.

You are the smell of meaty kebabs and red roses stained with the echoing voices of ๐˜”๐˜ข๐˜จ๐˜ฉ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ฃ โ€” the dusk prayer, near Nizam-ud-din Auliya’s dargah.

You are the great sandstone carcass of the Red Fort, where hushed voices of the Mughals and the British can still be heard, duelling and spinning a tale of broken empires.

You use the map from William Dalrymple’s book, ๐˜Š๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜บ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜‹๐˜ซ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ฏ๐˜ด, and traipse around Shahjahanabad, as every wrong turn springs a new surprise.

You are the stacked rooftops, soaring vultures, twirling kites and children playing with old tires, in the spice bazaars of Khari Baoli.

You are the girl adorned in white, wearing heavy rusty ๐˜ซ๐˜ฉ๐˜ถ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฌ๐˜ข๐˜ข๐˜ด her lover had sneakily put in her sidebag, dancing to an Amir Khusrau’s ๐˜ฌ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ข๐˜ฎ โ€”

๐˜’๐˜ฉ๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ข๐˜ข๐˜ป๐˜ช ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ ๐˜ฌ๐˜ช, ๐˜ซ๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฌ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ช ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜จ,

๐˜‘๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ต ๐˜จ๐˜ข๐˜บ๐˜ช ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ช๐˜บ๐˜ข ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ, ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ช, ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜จ.

You are the winters from Pashmina Shawls sold in the markets of Chandni Chowk. And the monsoons from Bahadur Shah Zafar’s ghazals.

You look like a protest. With dried nosebleeds, you wear a full sleeve kurta, to hide the secret of your love handles and colonial marks.

On a lazy afternoon, you smoke a cigar while lying on your couch. And look at young protestors crossing the street with hoardings, which say โ€” ‘๐˜‹๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ’๐˜ต ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ ๐˜๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ข’, through your grubby, cracked yellow tinted window.

You are the Indraprastha of Pandavas.

You are the Lal Kot of Tomars.

You are the invasion of Nader Shah.

You are the city built, destroyed, and rebuilt several times.

You are Rehman’s Masakali.

You are the ๐˜‹๐˜ช๐˜ญ of ๐˜‹๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜ช.

Aishwarya Roy
Aishwarya Roy

Aishwarya writes descriptive verses on life, and narrates powerful tales of all that the world has to offer.

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