Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dubai: a poem

A great expanse of desert
All around, sand dunes, pockmarked
with bushes, palm trees, smudges of black, lost
in overwhelming brown.

Suddenly appear buildings, neat
Like Monopoly houses, ruler-straight
Lines of roads: human habitation.
Desert gone,
An oasis called Dubai.

This Arabic dot inspired
no poetry.
Few ancient monuments,
no natural scenery, just
the monotonous desert.
Man-made, artificial--what could it boast but
malls, hotels, skyscrapers?

Now,
standing on a balcony, looking
at a loud motorbike twenty storeys below,
admiration comes to me.
The motorbike, amidst car traffic,
a confident gnat amongst swans.

The bike slows, lets a car pass. Turning
onto the main road, it picks up
speed. 100 kmph.
Impossible in Mumbai.

In India, only vanity owns
a 500cc bike. In the city,
you can touch 60 kmph
on a lucky empty stretch.

A three-hour flight west, you can taste
the power of a Hayabusa
You can drive a Ferrari.

How did they tame the desert,
these men in white?

How come the hands
of their officials are surgically clean,
their fingernails so spotless?
Why does the milk taste
so good here?

What do they have
we don't in India?
Oil but no water, yet
They grow parks, build
a ski slope with real snow.

Dubai is
Man-made, artificial,
a monument to human achievement.
And that, surely,
inspires poetry.

5 comments:

Samprita said...

Awesome. Love it. Love the part about the Hayabusa and the Ferrari.

shashi said...

Fantastic lines! Wonder if anyone else thought of writing like this about the most modern desert on earth!

Noire said...

Been spending some time reading your archives. Good to have found you Hasmita :)

naina said...

I like it!

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