Sunday, November 6, 2011

Strangers in the Night-


Across walls
he can hear a familiar hum of her breaths
he has gone through it the whole night
and for exactly fifteen minutes after three thirty
she snored which he knows she would never admit
and he smiles
perhaps for the first time in the last eight hours


Just a month after their wedding
he was running hundred and two
and she the woman with ocean eyes
and salt pepper lips
winner of Miss Scottish Church-99
holds his hands and cries all night long
strangely comforting him
and he says, “I’ll not die of fever you know."
While she punches him through her tiny palms.
And then that morning he wrote a note to her

"At night my lost memory of you returned
and I was like the empty field where springtime,
without being noticed, is bringing flowers;
I was like the desert over which
the breeze moves gently, with great care;
I was like the dying patient
who, for no reason, smiles."

Faiz- Agha Shahid


He sat quietly without any idea of what is happening
For all he knows they may marry him
The quacker way
It’s strangely humid in there Alipore rd home.
Thinking of Coetzee and his book Youth
and yet her
"It’s warm dammit."
As she sees her
clad in the Benarasi
she mentioned in their phone calls
a month ago
smiling, face downwards, walking
and he realizes what exactly was she bearing
in this Calcutta summer
and he wants to reach out and say-
"Are you mad, by any chance?
how can you wear it in this season."
But silently watches her carrying herself
in the whole pageant beauty way that she has.
And falls in love all over.

"In centuries. She comes to stand at dusk —
Her spot each time the same — and to foretell.
She is a hollow, wrinkled husk,
Dark as a fire-gutted citadel.

Around her. Then, returning home to roost,
They find a perch beneath her eyebrows' eaves,
And in that shadow wait for night to fall."

He wrote in his diary
just an hour after
he made love to her
for the first time as a wedded pair.


It’s the chilly Boston winters
with snow white and long nights
and in the newton campus hall he receives her letter
and it has
John Denver,
Hindustan Times edit cut
and her words
as he thinks of her
standing in queue back home
for two hours to send him this

"The snow unfurls in dancing figures.
A silver gull slips down from the west.
Sometimes a sail. High, high stars.
Oh the black cross of a ship.

Sometimes I get up early and even my soul is wet.
Far away the sea sounds and resounds.
This is a port.

Here I love you.
Here I love you and the horizon hides you in vain."


And he heard
for the first time
while she was talking
of this new writer she really did like
And he listens and walks in the labyrinth
of her voice
he has heard of the writer
but he keeps mum
he cannot let go of the magic

And that night he did try to count the stars
and in the morning
called her again
to make sure she was alright
and he heard her smile on phone
and he knew that he shall fall in love
“Take Care.” while hanging up he said
I shall, she said

He wrote

Of all things
Sicilian defense,
Sunday afternoons,
The Ninth Symphony,
The Voluptuous Mrs Chaterjee of the fourth floor,
Caucasian Chalk Circle
And Amy Goodman
Of all things said and done
I fell for you


And she
with the silent slow hum
eyes opened and heart too
as she feels the bedroom door unlock
and closes her eyes
pretending sleep

And he
falls next to her
burying his nose on her neck
She feels his warm breath on herself
after eight lifetime long hours

And a noiseless smiling tear
traces her face
he says
"Believe me you snore.
But you smell great.
You do"

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