There is a new parking lot in PB
And a handful of policemen wear blue;
The old assembly house is in ruins.
The buildings now wear a gown of black glass
And starbucks is not unknown to the town;
And I mustn’t forget the big fountain.
The black and yellow share taxis still ply,
The shops stay open past nine,
The walls are void of graffiti that say
We are Khasi by blood, Indians by accident. But
The walls, they are still covered with lime:
Wat tah shun
but who bothers listen?
Betel juice still stains the pavements:
No spitting here
but who bothers read?
The corners still reek of urine:
No urination here
but who bothers restraint?
They say they are losing their culture,
And they say their way of life –
The reason they say is I
And my mother and her mother before her.
Life moves on slowly – lahe lahe,
Days are spent drinking shiteng sha
In decrepit basement shops,
Jalebi on the side;
Evening intoxicates with cheap booze
Downed with soothing English music,
Perhaps a few pakoras bought off the street;
I wonder if I had anything to do with their choices.
As I watch the graveyard burn bright with candles
From my courtyard on All Soul’s Day,
I think to myself why I saw a different town then?
The answer comes clearly back,
You were too busy trying to fit in, foreigner.