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Dilip Chitre

A poetic mural for Gulammohammed Sheikh, Tyeb Mehta and Akbar Padamsee


not the romantic pink rose half-veiled in chiffon in a Muslim social movie made in Mumbai

where every frame rustles with black silk or satin and anguish plucks the sitar

but ripping off of all that may clothe the body exposed in its naked fear

not the mystique and the archetype conceived in sensuous anticipation and trembling emotion

but the body crushed to cunt made palpable by the deeper surfaces of shock

stoked, poked, probed, fucked, carved, sliced, and shredded

then so that everyone can smell but nobody may tell

torched to leave a signatured trail of smoke

no mother is safe, nor daughter, nor wife, nor fiance, nor friend

these motherfuckers are painting a riotous scene in saffron and green and black

they come from bourgeois homes eat farsan for breakfast and fart before they pray

at every garish temple strike brass bells and devout gongs

use cell phones play discmans drive sleek town cars watch more than 90 channels

drink whiskey to become sentimental pay tributes to preachers from hell

these are our own families and friends and the next-door neighbours we borrow curds from

they fly kites on the day of sankranti and burst crackers at diwali or after cricket victories

we see them at picnics meet them at cinemas find them in restaurants of our choice

they’ve been planning this for three generations since 1947 and now comes the fourth

to deliver the subliminal as a hard copy and a text for you to decipher

on the banks of the sabarmati river where Bapu played with children and goats between freedoms


Dilip Chitre is a poet, fiction-writer, playwright, painter and filmmaker. His honours include the Sahitya AKademi Award. He lives in Pune and writes in Marathi and English