Lif As We Know It: The City Of Joy

In one of the million yellow vehicles swarming the streets of this city, I am overwhelmed with a million thoughts in my mind; about these people, about life, about melancholy tears, about joyful smiles, about joy, and suddenly about the name this city has got, the City of joy.

This city is crowded, this city is polluted, polluted with the array of concrete blocks, surging in number with every passing day,

polluted with the deafening honks, polluted with the visible thoughts of the never ending crowd moving in and out of every corner of this busy city.

City of Joy 1
Photographer: Dev Biswas

I get confused in the chaos. I am lost.

I can fight no more against this.

I plug in my headphones, go to Artists, tap on Mr. Big, and play “Shine”, and I give in to the confusion.

The unexpected happens.

The confusion takes over me, and what I thought and what I feel shouts out the same word in chorus, ambivalence.

I find order in the chaos.

This confusion is the joy of the city.

As my yellow ride sweeps through the streets, I let the noise envelop my song.

The honk and the chatter tells me I belong to this city.

I stare in a single direction outside my window as the unending array of old concrete blocks passes me by.

If you listen close enough, you’ll hear the souls of these buildings speak their stories to you.

Many old cinema halls pass me by in the north.

The decades old tram line still fights, proudly, like everyone here has been fighting.

There’s no limit to the number of things that speak to me today.

The sun is a bit orange now, shining through the trees, whatever we have of them along the road there, casting long shadows against everything it colors. No one’s left out. So many faces, all with their own stories, only if you could manage to see through what they put up to survive through the day.

I move up the flyover, and I wonder at the numerous times I have been on it, and never felt anything similar. Maybe I’m nostalgic. But why does this city feel like my own, in just a few years? Is it the soul of this city that speaks to me? Can I understand its language? Whatever it is, it has made me a part of itself now. I suppose it was immutable.

Track changes. Shuffle takes me to ‘Time of your life’, the only Greenday song I have.

I don’t want to reach my destination. I don’t want to board the train tonight, for I want time to never end and a miracle to ‘shine down on me‘. Maybe take me back to some frozen moment in time, with people I value, but can’t express enough now.. I wanted to live the time of my life in this city. Maybe I couldn’t live enough. And another human trait gets hold of me. Desire.

The steel giant doesn’t intimidate me today.. Instead, it welcomes me, and I succumb to the emotional plunge as I move towards my window to look across the serene Ganges. I feel its wind blow on my face as it tells me a hundred stories, calming me off all my worries. I’m oblivious of my pain. I’m oblivious of everything that can hurt me. I’m safe. I’m safe in this feeling. I’m safe in my deepest corners of this city’s niche today.

Photographer: Dev Biswas
Photographer: Dev Biswas

The schools are closed today. No students walking on the lanes. But I see a few kids walk the footpaths, or cross the streets, holding their mamma and papa’s hands.. They know what I’m talking about. They know the joy of this city.

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