Is it yours? Is it mine?

as you come to visit
this old, forgotten relic
my dear English friend,
what do you see?
I wonder…
do you wonder too,
how i look at you,
when you see your ancestor
having locked up mine,
this past where yours was a perpetrator
and mine was a sufferer
is this past really yours?
is this past really mine?
or just a deep coincidence
that we are across each other
standing by the same rivers?
here in my time now
we buy clothes from you
here in your time now
you buy designs from us
what a twist in the tale
from what our forefathers were
I am wondering, a hundred year hence,
where would our sons and daughters be;
I hope the rivers of separation
finally dissolve by then
and we all would stop reliving
and begin one exchange of soul
like the start of humanity
once again.

Written after a spontaneous visit to the Aga Khan palace. Never have I felt so close to Mahatma Gandhi as I do when I visit this palace. This place has its soul left beyond the constant drone of the traffic from the highway outside. When you enter the room where Gandhiji’s close personal secretary died, the energy of his remorse is palpable. And yet, at the end of it, when you read the placard with his words, you can feel the sordid determination of this man to take India to freedom. He cast every grief, every anger, every regret into the pyre of resolve for this country that kept growing bigger. It leaves me questions… what does being Indian really mean? Are we still living this country out of a history textbook? What does ‘Mahatma’ really mean?

As I pass near Kasturba Gandhi’s shrine, there are 2 tables set up selling antique pocket watches, cottage industry wallets, files and khadi kurtas and stoles. There are Indians talking to their children on a Sunday afternoon picnic about Gandhiji’s imprisonment here. There are foreigners in their hotel’s cars with their handycams and interesting facts dug up from a Lonely Planet probably. And there is me, somewhere in the middle, just absorbing this scene, witnessing. 

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  1. Manjiri
    October 14, 2012

    Love love the poem.and my lovely Pune!

    • Deepti G Gujar
      October 14, 2012

      🙂 yes…Pune is beautiful…

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