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Written for Vel Vel, A Sonic Walk #3 From Selegie to SOTA By Lewin Bernard 1. I continue my walk with God A golden light above shines my path I stand on the crossroads of Sungei Road and Selegie Knowing there will be many more crossroads I’ll face Driven by the beat. I take my next step. I am greeted by the concrete and glass corridor of Selegie A place where walking on fire was once done for Theemithi I endure the asphalt fever burning on my pilgrimage 2. I lift my eyes to witness the blue saree lacing sky The heat kissing my skin I glance, the Ellison Building stands, Once a proud landmark with dome, now a shadow Roughed up by weather, she is in much need of restoration. 3. Carrying our vows beautifully embellished I am parched by the sun, but feel my soul quenched I am followed by my household and more Chanting strength into my veins. I am not tired by the gravel rough road I see and the weight of my vow I am silenced by my own will. Decorated with piercings is my offering of loyalty 4. I walk pass the HDB flats of Selegie A grid like pattern watches me I see people sitting on the five feet walls, Some rest on the chairs brought from home Whispers and Gossips speak about garbs worn I hear, about the good the bad and the gaudy on my walk 5. I noticed the fashion boutiques lined the Selegie Courts Beautiful threads drapping on the mannequins Radiating like stars behind clear glass I would feel like royalty donning one 6. Among the buildings stands the Ming You Building Proud of it’s Art Deco lines beside modern designs I see its Jade Green eyes, seeing its share of moments of our land’s chronicles I wish you can tell me the stories of yesteryear 7. I see the the tumeric yellow garments before me. Jasmines strung, and scent flowing through the air Carrying milkpots forward Like a sea of colours, red, blue, yellow, green and purple flow Fabrics adorned, Veshties around the waist Beautiful punjabi suits, sarees and jippas with gold embroidery standing and watching 8. I pause at the blade tip of Selegie and Short Street Where David Elias sits from 1928 I am guided by the Star of David, pointing towards my destiny 9. I sway to the sound of the Urumi Melam It sounds like rain dancing on a zinc sheet The sharp beat puts me further at ease 10. I am halted to dance my heart out on a designated point I dance into a hynoptic Trance An ecstatic cosmic dance to the gods I stop and the world around me spins The peacock feathers move and bow to the beat I feel the bells on my feet start to ring 11. I hear the bodies around me speaking, chanting The engines of cars grunting at the sides I am drowned by the sweet chorus of my Lord Serenading my focus, keeping me on course I lift my Kavadi on my shoulders as a devotion I watch my palanquin touch the heavens 12. I see the many types of Kavadi One before me walks with a Thol Kavadi A wooden arched, beloved with peacock feathers Pearched on a shoulder of a devotee And the one before him, I see rows of small shiny milk pots, hooked and pierced onto the skin Decorated like jewels on a king marching into battle 13. I passed a metallic bridge that enters Peace Centre I have reached a point that serves water and food A yellow barricade draws my path dividing we devotees and the audience People sitting on the field, resting and nourishing I see the Selegie Arts Centre, a sudden spectrum of colours Like a slice of cake among the pale shaded buildings. 14. I am given temporary shelter from the sun that covers the land by a bridge above my head like a solar eclipse The asphalt heat continues to burn my feet from pole to pole I am committed, unbowed by the elements 15. I barely can hear the trumpets of the cars Drowned out by the melody of triumph, swaying to the sonic waves My feet feels every bump on the road, every incline and decline. Biting my soles with every stride. 16. I feel the open space even though the hundreds surround me I know I have passed the halfway mark of my journey The Sun reflections on glass panels like swords swung at my eyes 17. I do this for forgiveness, good health and peace. I continue the traditions of my family I see their love and this I do for them 18. How fitting I walk on Selegie, a spear sharpened and hardened by fire On a day I carry the Vel, the divine spear for Lord Murugan

January 2021 - 2022

Vel Vel, A Sonic Walk 

Arts House Pte Ltd Commision Work 

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