Bombay : A Paranoic Critical Landscape -Harish Nambiar


Marine Drive at Oberoi’s feet

The Arabian lapdog holds in its teeth

Tetrapods of the sheriff’s shit


A grasshopper bred in the municipal waste

Guards the entrance slits

Of Kamatipura’s mannequins.


Ten million scavenger ants dream

Their delirious dream

Of feasting on the chief minister’s

Succulent, gelatinous body.


The red smoke of AK 56

Rises in concentric circles

Inside the Amul butter domes

Of its Gothic heritage buildings.


From the cigarette and country liquor halitosis

The satanic verses of the

Rigveda invoke a somnolent Mumbadevi


Irani restaurants and their

Black tentacled vegetarian crab chairs

Glare behind the ailments

Who collect money for Ganesh


Parents break coconuts

On Tuesday nights inside

The Contractor’s obscenity

Called Siddhi Vinayak for

Topping in courses that taught

Their wards how to pee

Just like their fathers did.


At the Worli seaface

A Titan quartz melts

In sadistic copulation

With the sterile virgin from Mahim.


Suburban Boddhisatvas check out

Against the rock cunts of Bandra’s bandstand

The third phallus they bought

To substitute their two-inch complexes

From a quack in Mazagaon.


On Gokulasthami

Putanas fan out into the gullies

Suckling proliferating fetuses

With growl tiger’s bile.


After a meal of Deonar’s asuras

Bhima farts ammonia yellow

In nuclear Chembur

While Benazir burps her

Crescent green in Bhendi Bazar


Red is the cheapest colour

White is superabundant

In a billboard painter’s

Raved exhibition at Jehangir.


Over this mulch of oneiric ecstasy

The rainbow-coated fruit-fly

Buzzes a Bollywood tune


*This poem was first published in Virgo Publication’s Voices in Time  as one of the 67 shortlisted poems in a British Council and Poetry Societyof India annual competition in 1994.


Harish Nambiar

Harish Nambiar is the author of Defragmenting India, a narrative non-fiction book about a bike ride in the middle of the worst Hindu-Muslim riots in India; in it he attempts to meld reportage, myth, beliefs and data into an ugly installation. He has won no awards and has not been published in any journal you would recognise but pens Culture Counter, a fortnightly column in The Economic Times Magazine

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