Sheltered in her canopy, entrapped in her protective embrace,
The city has cast a spell on me.
Speak not of the time when I will have to leave her!
Let me play under her watchful gaze...
Was it not in her gardens when I swung the swings
That I dreamt to be a superman?
Or rode on that chugging little toy train in Kamati Baug,
Looking with wide-eyed wonder, out from the window, at what the world brought me next.
Wasn´t she the one, who taught me how to peddle a bicycle,
Down her winding roads, mystery shrouding each lane?
Wasn´t she the one, who clapped the hardest,
When I performed, with quivering hands and a choked up voice, for the very first time in Gandhi Gruh?
I think she was there, in that rusty Rajishri theatre (long before multiplexes!),
Where I promised my allegiance to Harry Potter.
Wasn´t she the one, who nudged me into her libraries,
Introducing me to the multiple parallel universes in which to immerse?
Was it not under her canopy of Banyans, at her E.M.E. temple,
I discovered God and thought them to be powerful and kind aliens!
She was there when I lied to my mother (I scored a zero on my test!!),
She was there too when we both cried when I asked for her forgiveness.
She was there when I started to sing, & on that rainy day,
When my voice cracked, she washed my tears and tried to console me.
Didn´t she ask me to look at her domes and palaces and her char darwazas,
And feel proud that she had stood the test of time, to be there to protect me.
She tried to cushion my fall as I met an accident,
She nursed me back to health.
How can she, created by Sayajirao and being Sayajinagari,
Not enroll me in the Maharaja Sayajirao University?
It was she, who discovered that I loved playing with words,
She instructed me to never stop playing...
So why does this Sanskarinagari have a hold on me?
How can she wield the wand so effectively on me?
She is not feisty Bombay, or raucous Delhi,
She is not posh Bangalore or Kolkata with its old world charm,
She is not like her sprawling metropolitan city of Ahmedabad,
Yet as I write this from my little cubbyhole in Nizampura,
I believe she is a demure, little protective mother,
Vadodara is the city that I have lived and loved,
And I believe that she is there for me, every single time...
----- Vismay Harani