The place I almost hated
with extreme affection
went there only once though
Somehow after the chilly north bengal
it was just not needed.
Heard a lot of Siliguri,
Siliguri resonated in Kolkata through you
Auxilium convent, your school
and the big bungalow, as you always said
at pradhan nagar.
I never got a chance to see them
though they are so graphic into my mind
the big black main gate
and a nepali named thapa kaku,
Conch playing at distance and in between you
with little pig-tails reading
“ The Merchant Of Venice”
.. London is colder perhaps
Perhaps thoughts go warmer with age..
You as I find you in the shelves of my memory
always vividly in bright colours
fondling Jane Austin or Shelly..
it was your word for everything
within touching distance
Kolkata is where
The first time I saw you
Somewhere in the college canteen
and as I lied to you
later somewhere in Berlin
that it was love then.
But the truth is
I fell for you not then
a conglomeration of events
led me do it.
Perhaps when you
during one of our opening talks,
talked not of me
Knowing my literature background, said,
"Thou wouldst not see, were not thine own heart dark.
Thine own keen sense of wrong that thirsts for sin.."
I was shocked and in love.
I wrote my first poetry that night,
it was your face woven into words.
And your crooning voice
while when you talked.
I called it,
" My Only Moon"..
It was all Calcutta to me.
.. It still lies in between the pages of
Roll Call to Destiny by Brent Nosworthy.
American Civil War.
Let me see it again..
Reading that poem and thinking about your voice
reminds me of this place
Have you ever seen white, into everything,
this is how I remember this place
Even my shanty dorm at Newton campus.
Boston was covered with snow all over
& I was covered all over with credit subjects,
The amerian civil war
and long distance phone calls.
I missed Kolkata, I missed you too
Never told you.
I always asked you to recite something Tagorish,
and you sang,
" Ami Chini Go Chini" ( I know you, O I know you)..
and I in reply said..
" I am eager and wakeful,
I am a stranger in a strange land.
Thy breath comes to me whispering an impossible hope."
& You thought I was being cheesy..
Perhaps that was the loveliest conversation we ever had,
even though we were 7,761 miles away.
...Those miles have been the longest distance
I've ever shared in tears
The Phone rings, if it’s you,
I'll tell you how long you'll live..
The phone call missed
as I've always missed things in my life
Like your wedding..
Or was it intentional..
The wedding at Kolkata was a normal boring affair
I was told
it was here,
Berlin that you took Dibendu for honeymoon
and I laughed
thinking about the Berlin lit fest on offer..
Am sure it was not love
but your revenge on me for leaving you
always thought you were somewhere their
its strange why didn't I miss you then..
You were sure to find me at Berlin
and how you exhibited your shakha(Bangles) to me,
talked about Michael Ondaatje
and his book, " The English Patient"..
As if nothing had happened.
I told you
that neither of us left love,
the distance did
and you cried, I could just smile.
I started my first novel then
the one I am still writing
even though I have published three.
.. My first book still beckons you,
perhaps me too..
Almost successful with words
and a professor of creative writing,
that is what London is synonymous to me.
And ofcourse your regular reviews to my books
and everything I put into word.
At times I feel its the telephone
which is the source of our relation.
You still say I Love You at the end
you still Do, maybe
and I still smile.
Though we havent seen each other for ten years
your marriage,it has been twenty two years
and you still use the word
love.. I still can only smile..
I am the sole Shylock of our story
always asking for a pound of your flesh.
Though I see more Indians here
then anywhere I've lived
its almost lonely.
I think of you walking to me
through the garden of xaviers at times.
The phone rang with your number
I picked up with a smile
It was Dibendu telling me you've passed away
a heart attack,
I don't know who died though
and it was heart ache and not attack
Perhaps all this has already happened
.. Ah old age playing games..