The Alipore Post x Veekends

Veekends is a platform for eco-tourism, which has partnered with UN to create a set of guidelines to map the ecological foot print of each resort. They then rate the properties and certify them depending upon whether they meet all the criteria.


The Alipore Post is thrilled to have collaborated with Veekends on a poetry + art travel edition. Read the poems we loved reading that transport us, and the original artworks we commissioned in response to these thought-provoking poems:


Artwork by Anarya


Sore Feet by Rohan Bhasin


Wander.

Wander till your heels swell up;

Wander till your feet bleed out;

Wander till you can walk no more.

'Cause it' s better to have tired feet

than a tired soul.

Art by Padma


conjunctions by Mrinal Kalita


In my old city,

the 72 year old sweeper whom I like to address as Rahim Sahab

is performing his duties

so he can quietly recline to his makeshift lodging

at the end of the day,

located at the foot of one of the rare willow trees found in my city,

where he also nestles a stray dog

so he can have someone to come back to,

but most times, he does not recognize the forest track back to his tree,

so he remembers the last road bend that he must get off from

by the milepost that says Guwahati is 87 kilometres away

(most times, I also like to imagine that that is where he comes from

and that maybe he has a little daughter waiting for his return)


the next morning, Rahim Sahab continues his routine

and the stiff edges of his broom

scratch against the tar of city streets

to wake the IT intern

newly renting a single room at Laitumkhrah,

and he has remembered

how this sweeper almost always arrives at 8 A.M. everyday

and it is time for him to have his morning smoke,

at the cigarette shop, he learns the air of my city

and remembers it as his mother’s cold eyes—

six months later,

the intern carries Rahim Sahab to another city

only as an odd memory and watches it slowly decompose

every morning that he is woken up

without the sound of footsteps and stiff edges of a broom

to tell him it is 8 A.M.


In the single room that the intern vacated in Laitumkhrah,

he left behind the red semi-transparent ashtray

that the new resident now discovers

on the window sill, and uses as her own—

every morning, at 8 A.M.

she is almost always awoken by a stray dog howling

and remembers it is time for her morning smoke,

at the cigarette shop, she learns the air of my city

and remembers it as seasons dying in her backyard

as if hoping to be eulogized—

she returns to her room, fleshes out her imagination

and begins to paint, starting from the backdrop

travelling inwards to the last detail of ash

in the cigarette burning between fingers

of what she thinks the last resident would look like smoking;

later, she laughs at herself

for painting an absence

she has never encountered


It is January when I return to my city

and the willow tree across the milepost

that says Shillong is 13 kilometres away

has now been cut down,

but I imagine Rahim Sahab has finally gone back to his daughter

except the dog he once nestled looks like every street dog now

and without Rahim Sahab, he does not exist anymore—

at the cigarette shop,

a madwoman tells me she wants to paint me holding a cigarette

I say, if only I can write a poem about you,

and at this moment,

I learn the air of my city

and remember it as the place

where memory comes to die

Art by Goku


a poem for the thrice-displaced Bhil tribe by Pranietha Mudliar


dream of homes built from sticks and stones

I carry songs of sunny days, seedlings, and my favorite goat

I run home from school, uncaring about my verbs and nouns

I have a home to build that stands steady on slippery ground

While I walk, I dream of walks that never end

Sitting atop my father, he never paused even on a bend

There was the blinding Indian sun and one long shiny road

Now when I'm asleep, my earth still moves and flows


In a dream I hear the roar of the voracious river

When it swallowed my old home, I get a shiver

At school I climb higher and higher on faraway trees

To see my new home and sway in the reassuring breeze

Art by Shikhar Gaur


The Stars Understand by Dhruvi Modi


A pregnant moon threatens

to drop on my head tonight,

and I wonder if that is how

it amassed all its craters and

pockmarks. I trace the Canis Major

with a bony finger - Sirius quivering

in and out of sight - and trace

Pollux and Castor, bound together

for eternity (do you think they still love

each other?) and wave hello to

Orion the Hunter who flaunts his trendy

cummerbund. Tonight, Leo's might

is outshined by the Moon's brilliant

light, though I'm sure he understands –

the stars understand, I believe,

that there is enough space

for them all to shine.

Art by Tanya Timble


First Flush by Ishan Sadwelkar


curtained by sudden steam the window wears

a new robe and watches tea become

tea like the way it must be brewed, consistent

and fragrant like the memory of a former flame’s

lips wrestling to confine yours, fermenting

into moist responses and the aroma

of collective breath, the thrilling occurrence of teeth,

eyes viewing surfaced inner ordeals; rising vapour

breathes its own story

into an air now recoloured, the culprit –

Darjeeling first flush, astringent enough to

cut the blandness of its light body, it rivers

down your insides like the rain you opened

your mouth to at age seven, your arms caught just

the essential – nothingness and futureless joy