In the Bazaars of Agra

Sneha Christall
2 min readFeb 8, 2023
Circa April, 2022

Round and round we go,

Through meandering alleys,

Each more similar than the next.

Unbothered by the rabble

Of hawkers, street dwellers and tourists

(Getting ripped off while thinking they snagged a good deal),

Our rickshaw driver pulls to a stop:

‘Have we arrived right where we started?’

There was no way of knowing for certain.

Back into the din we proceed,

The sun now scrutinizing us intently,

As shopkeepers, their clothes, bangles, spices, mirrors and

Flowers (for weddings/ funerals, as fate decides),

Clamor for our attention.

Far from the place we call home,

Our senses jolted by unfamiliarity,

Sights, sounds and smells collide,

Into one steady commotion.

Swallowed up whole, we realize —

Years of city-dwelling have rendered us

Tone-deaf to how

Life has the capacity to

Birth itself everyday.

In a few more days, we would leave

And in a few more years,

This would be a distant memory.

But the lesson remains —

We are mere passers-by,

With more in common

Than we are made to believe.

And if we ask of it without fear,

The vast ocean of life

Will keep on giving.

In this poem, I’ve tried to capture both an inner and outer journey. The outer journey is that of being in the Kinari Bazaar of Agra (‘kinari’ translates to ‘hem’ in English). This meaning is interesting because the actual bazaar seems to have no end or ‘hem’, but is a perpetual maze of circles, with no apparent beginning or end. The inner journey is that of experiencing being the ‘other’ albeit, for a short time.

The structure of this bazaar acts as an allegory for the circle of life, an infinite continuum that keeps on giving to those who ask of it. Some more instances where this idea is reiterated is when we disembark from the rickshaw and are not sure if we have ended up right where we began, and the reference to both weddings and funerals. While one symbolizes new beginnings, the other marks the end of a life.

Thank you for dropping by, I hope you enjoyed reading this little poem. If you’d like to share your thoughts, drop me an email at snehamchristall@gmail.com.

--

--