Imagining the wiki city

From PhalkeFactory

राह चलती सड़क एक ऊँचे आर्च से फिसल कर गायब हो जाती है, तो समझो शहर यहाँ पर ख़तम होता है. "या शुरू", और जैसे अपनी बात को सच बताने के लिए, तुम यह कहते कहते कहते तेज़ कदम पर उस गेट के पार, सड़क के आखरी टुकड़े पर जा खड़े होते हो, गेट को देखते हुए. मैं जब वहाँ पहुँचता हूँ, तुम्हें मौन पाता हूँ. तुम कुछ देर गेट ताकते रहते हो, और फिर मेरी तरफ मुड़ कर देखते हो, बच्चे की सी मुस्कान होंठों पर लिए हुए. फिर सर घुमा कर उस गेट को देखते हो, फिर मुझे.. चहरे पर लिखा है, तुम्हारा मन आँखों की चमकती नाव पर चढ़कर मछ्लीद्वार की बड़ी मछ्लियोन के बीच है, बुर्क़े सी टोप डाले शेरो से आँख मिला रहा है, नाव से झुककर,पत्थर के गजों की पीठ सहला रहा है.

ऊडन तश्तरी तश्तरी उड़ती है, पंख, मुहम्मद का घोड़ा मायरब्रिज के घोड़े से पहले उड़ी थी. अल बुराक- जहाँ तक उसकी नज़र दौड़ती थी, वहीं तक एक कदम. कालीन की धुन्ध से बादल निकालने को लगी हुई हैं उंगलियाँ.

M बादल उड़ जाते हैं, उंगलियाँ काम में लगी रहती हैं

the gates

M: The gates are almost forgotten structures at the end of the inner city, waiting for some restoration drive to take a fancy to them. Lions in broken plaster bonnets, fish like wet eyes, and a quiet line of elephants that will not easily be metaphorised.. we both love the animal gates we have seen in cities in this land. But this time we have made a work out of it.. i am loth to call myself a researcher, i have seen those animals, they live in libraries, permanantly bent over tables, wielding a pen sized scanner shining a light, .. and with it, they capture old parchments, page by crumbling page.

We will visit the city library, of course, but that will be just one piece of our day. We are- not quite travel journalists, but not researchers either. just a couple, still happy to be together, to love and write in cities we had only read of before. We are lucky this time, to have got paid to travel, we are collaborators at work this time.

The gates look Verdant with design, full, overblown quite..enough intricate details to catch you by the leg down some stairwell of the mind where one thing transforms into another. As E M forster had imperatived- connect! connect.. this under your feet is a living road, move with it, to where a goldsmith might lead you to a tannery, an ayurvedic doctor to church, a snake to homeopathy.

N: ..outside the city gate, around us, is only what we see everywhere, squatter settlement walls that have become one with dry ground, the all manner of salvage to make homes, broken with bright colour from time to time. a large drain shared between this side of the gate and that- inside the gates, small men with small claims in little shops that their family might have kept over generations, they are faded by seeing the sun from the same spot every day, all their lives. I spent some time this afternoon imagining what the face of the shopkeeper might look like smiling, as we sat outside the shop... half an hour, making enquiries, asking questions, waiting while his boy ran to fetch us some tea. Yes, of course, he had heard of Phalke, there is a clock tower, a main road and various suchlikes named after him. A medical college. Dadasaheb Phalke medical college? Really? the man could not see the humour of it, of course. I wonder what the old man would have made of that. Might have simply taken it in his Konkanastha Kashyap Brahman stride. Talking of which, we met a Mr. Kashyap today.

M: The man who took us around the Vimana Shastra kendra. . Mr. Kashyap, who was sent by the officer in the fancy Vimana Shastra building, to see the glories of the glass and chrome. Bright eyed balding, shoulders bent. His name, he told me, means turtle, after a great sage. I nodded, though I had knew this much already. I did not see a turtle, I saw an ageing, but still graceful bird. day 4

day 5

footnote: a letter to italo

make it like the skanda purana, in tamil also called the scrap purana- written over hundreds of years, stories added and added and added to it, small ref to skanda purana here, for this