Friday, June 18, 2010


As that unique fragrance
of roses, with a hint of jasmine,
A subtle undertone of grassy meadows,
Mixed with moonlight and the musky
smell of your sweat, wafted towards me,
Overpowering the ripe smell of an open drain,
Women selling flowers, rotten vegetables,
The heavy stink of unwashed bodies
and dreary desire, that hung low like smog
on a busy Bombay street, one hot
and humid afternoon, I knew
It could be no one but her,
No one at all.
I just knew.

It had been fifteen years and more
Since that fragrance had seeped into me,
That heady brew that recalls still
Moonlit days and sunny nights,
Spent doing nothing, absolutely nothing,
With her head cradled in my arms,
Her fragrance enveloping my dreams,
Sweating with clouds making love
In the sky. An eternity later,
On that overflowing street in Bombay,
My heart leapt to my throat,
My pulse played a drumbeat in my head,
After fifteen years,
I had to remind myself
to breathe again.

The street fell strangely silent,
As over the mass of humanity,
Vegetable carts, autorickshaw fumes,
running, falling, scraping my knees,
overturning carts, bumping into cycles,
leaping over children, abusing
and being abused, I rushed towards her,
Till she was within reach
of my fingertips.

Liz, I whispered, dear, sweet Liz,
Laughing, crying, sobbing, screaming, stammering,
Liz, Liz, Liz, her name over and over again.
She turned around, with incomprehending eyes,
Eyes that were black and not a liquid brown.

I remembered too late,
She once had said,
The perfume she used,
Was favoured most by women,
All over the world.

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