Thursday, May 12, 2016

The next time I meet you

The next time I meet you,
I’ll ask you why you didn’t reply
to my last Facebook ping.

The next time I meet you,
I’ll ask you to tell me in detail
about all the walks that you
took around Kolkata, and all the
lovely pictures you clicked.

The next time I meet you,
Darling,
I’ll ask you to describe what it
felt like, discovering that Hussain painting
in an unassuming tea shop.

The next time I meet you,
I’ll ask you how you managed to
get that picture of a crow picking
on a black polythene packet
and how in the world did you
come up with that caption?
Is that really what you thought when
you first saw it, or was it thought of later?

The next time I meet you,
My Gundu,
I’ll ask you what it is like living
by yourself for the first time
in an unfamiliar city.

The next time I meet you,
I’ll ask you if you ever managed
to cook “baigun bhaja” the way
I had asked you to, over WhatsApp.

The next time I meet you,
I’ll ask you why you don’t write
regularly enough. Don’t you want
to finish the 365 Stories project?

The next time I meet you,
I’ll ask you if you’d like to visit
that dessert place on 12th Main again and later
bitch about how overpriced everything is.

The next time I meet you,
I’ll ask you to join me for karaoke and
do my favourite song first and then
yours, together.

The next time I meet you,
My love,
I’ll ask you about those pictures
of yours, sprawled out on the grass
and who clicked them? Do you have
a secret admirer now? Is she a Bong?
Will you settle down in Kolkatta?

The next time I meet you,
I’ll ask you why you really cancelled
that Hyderabad trip. Was it really
because you wanted to see me perform
or was it something else?

The next time I meet you,
I'll ask you why you didn't write
anything in that Jhumpa Lahiri
book that you gave me. You really
should have.

The next time I meet you,
I’ll ask you what it was like,
walking up Nandi Hills. Did it
make you feel strong? Was it
worth it?

The next time I meet you,
My Dearest,
I’ll ask you how you managed
those seven days in the wilderness
when you wrote your last
love letter…

The next time I meet you,
I’ll ask you where all it hurt and
did they pick you up carefully?
Were they able to gauge your worth?
How precious you are?

The next time I meet you,
Nitin,
I’ll ask nothing. I’ll just
squeeze your hand and say,
“You were missed.”



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