Anukriti Gupta




I don’t know how to remember you, Delhi

I don’t know how to not remember you, Delhi




I hear your parks are turning into crematoriums,

and that “Delhi is burning” is not about the summer heat this time.




I hear your central vista project[1] continues as “essential service”

I see the blood oozing from its soil.




I hear your giant semal[2] trees are mourning

Nobody has the time to collect and caress their red flowers this time.




I hear your population is decreasing, Delhi

Will you still complain about pollution in November, Delhi?




I hear your lofty monuments are covered in gloom, Delhi

You know they have seen it all and still, their hearts are churning, Delhi.




I don’t know what to hope for, Delhi

Do you know what hope is, Delhi?

[1]Delhi has been under a complete lockdown since April 19, 2021. It reports above 20,000 cases and around 350 deaths every day. India’s Covid-19 death toll neared two lakhs with 2,771 fatalities reported on 27th April. Overburdened hospitals are turning away patients due to lack of beds and a continuing oxygen shortage. Even after the national capital went under a complete lockdown on April 19 and hundreds of its inhabitants are dying every day, the work on the Modi government’s Central Vista project has been permitted to continue as an “essential service”. Central Vista project aims to build a new triangular parliament building of India.

[2] At every nook and corner of the city of Delhi, there lies a majestic tall dry deciduous tree popularly called the Semal (also known as the silk cotton tree).

Graves and Memorials in the premises of St. James’ Church, Kashmere Gate, Delhi. In Christian funerary art, angels represent the connection between heaven and earth, as well as strength, peace, faith and protection. The statues of angels built over tombstones and memorials can help families feel at ease after a loss knowing that their loved ones are forever protected. Even the poses of these sculptures are intended to give comfort and meaning to death. In the photograph, Delhi stands in the background with its numerous shops and houses. The photograph with angels looking over Delhi has been chosen to convey the author’s remorseful hope in the present tragic times. Photo courtesy: Anukriti Gupta
Photo source: author

Anukriti Gupta is a Ph.D. candidate at Centre for Women’s Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Her research interests include gender, space, faith-practices, material culture and public history. Her work profile was recently published by the British Association for South Asian Studies (BASAS) in their ‘Scholar of the Month’ series. She is the co-founder and curator of Zikr-e-Dilli, a digital depository of material-spatial memories, history and narratives of the city of Delhi.

 

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