Eleven years have passed in this city. Next to where you are breaking your promise of serving breakfast only to me, I remember buying a book from my first salary: Safdar Hashmi - The fifth flame. Life had just begun to explore new theatres of existence. I was raw; I did not know how to cut a slice of pizza. I would lose my way almost every day, thinking South Extension was nearer to Saket than IIT Gate. There were no counters of boiled corn those days; people would eat peanuts while waiting for the bus, warming their hands on a small bonfire lit by a friendly watchman. Very few people had cars those days. The roads were emptier. There were no malls, no Cafe Coffee Days. The lawns of the National School of Drama offered solace to lovers. Holding hands in the darkness of a cinemahall would rid the heart of triglycerides. Mosquitoes would still die from Tortoise coils.
Eleven years later, I am making pilgrimmages to all those places we visited together. As I sit alone, I almost talk to the empty chair in front of me. This is the table where you created arcs with your nails. This is the granite floor where your one foot would hang over the other, like guilt. No one notices me today. I have merged with the indoor plants. My head serves as a portrait on the wall where the orange paint has peeled off. As I sip on black coffee, imagining it to be hemlock, I wonder what you are doing: rubbing coconut oil in his head?
I go back home, eat frugally, and lie down. I switch off the light.
Aapki yaad aati rahi raat bhar
chashme nam muskuraati rahi raat bhar
Raat bhar dard ki shamma jalti rahi
gham ki lau thartharati rahi raat bhar
Yaad ke chaand dil mein utarte rahe
chandni jagmagaati rahi raat bhar
Koi deewana galiyon mein phirta raha
koi aawaz aati rahi raat bhar