POEM: Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh

Assembly Building, Chandigarh; Source: Duncid (via Wikipedia)


The best “futuristic” can aspire to is to become retro-chic —
like the ship sets from the 60’s Star Trek.

Yet, we can’t help but try to capture tomorrow, today —
only to create today’s vision of tomorrow’s dystopia.

If Asimov wrote about a man who finished his work at a typewriter
only to catch a trans-galactic shuttle —
what hope could Le Corbusier have of finding the future?

Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh features elegant, broad boulevards —
running straight, intersected only by other broad boulevards.

Perhaps, the future has arrived:
Where else in urban India can one drive a mile
without rounding a corner to stop for livestock, playing children, or a parked truck.
One can cross Chandigarh in twelve minutes flat.
Crossing Bengaluru requires four hours,
non-inclusive of stops for gas and a hardy biryani.

But that massive tic-tac-toe grid is built
of neighborhoods constrained inside block walls.
As one speeds through town, with nary a car in sight, one wonders
where is the life?
is this still India?
have I slipped through a trans-galactic teleportation portal?

Perhaps, the future has arrived:
Where else in urban India can one see:
battleship gray unadorned by marigolds or ochre
and wonder where the windows of the future went
and whether people of the future
ever idly peer off out toward the horizon?

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