They weren't lovers. Definitely not lovers. They worked together. In an old building that looked out through yellowed old translucent glass windows. Their seats were a couple of aisles apart. They weren't introduced. They met when a bunch of their colleagues were having lunch in the cafeteria one afternoon. And they got talking. Not so much to begin with. But one day later when both of them accidentally showed up for lunch late. They shared a meal. It was an intimate experience, sort of, sharing home cooked food always is. His mother packed his lunch. She packed her own. She stuffed rotis and curries and pickles and salads into her box. Biscuits for the afternoon, oranges in winter, mangoes in summer. Sometimes a spare banana. He got rice and at least three kinds of dals, she teased him. He teased her right back, about her small portions and if she was on a diet. She teased him back about something. And then right back again. And that's how they became acquaintances. After that they got talking slightly more, but not that much that people would talk, you know. Not that many cared that much, nevertheless.

Sometimes they would ping each other on the office chat messenger and synchronize their lunch times. It was good to see a familiar face. The cafeteria felt like an untamed place, with many many strange faces. They would often choose a table at the distance, in the corner and eat staring out the muffled glass windows, staring out at birds and trees and traffic and sharing tit-bits of their day so far. 

Then one day he asked her to make him an omelette. 

His family was vegetarian. He sometimes had eggs back in college. But now that he stayed at home, he hadn't had a good greasy omelette in a long time. He mentioned something about an omelette seller on his college campus who sold  good stuff in their hostel corridors and was the only thing to  look forward to while they crammed notebook after notebook on the night before exams. He sounded nostalgic. 

So she said she would make him a nice omelette and he could have it for breakfast the next day. She gave it her best though, but back then she didn't know how exactly they flipped those things over without breaking them into pieces. She googled the tactics and after a few failures, finally succeeded in bringing him an omelette. She actually learned this skill only for him. Because she never liked omelettes. Fried eggs were more her kind.

They met for breakfast and she eyed him tear into her omelette with such excitement. Though he commented she could have managed with lesser green chillies. Yet she could say what a good time he was having.

Many such mornings came by and went past. Slowly, they kind of fell apart though. He wanted someone hotter. Hot girls lived in big cities, so he transferred and moved out. She stayed back and met someone there. Right at home.

But every time she flipped an omelette, he quietly tip-toed back into her memories. 


From time to time,
I've wanted
Beautiful things for myself
As a treat, for going on

Tonite, I want one of those
Big transparent umbrellas
For when it rains on foggy days
And a cold sun doesn't show

I would hide under
My big transparent umbrella
To be only seen,
What paradox

But paradoxes can't stop me
Not tonite
Honey, because
Today, Donald Hall died

A gentle soul
With massive pools of eyes
Senile, yet lovable
Brimming with sorrow, overflowing, almost

Donald Hall has passed
What a day, oh
June 23, from old age
From a life, so satiatingly lived, perhaps

I kept googling him,
From time time
Just to check that he was okay
Breathing, alive, writing

It's like one of those things
Which I indulge in
As a treat for going on
But I forgot for a while

And he died
Quietly, oh
What will happen to words now
Who shall write them, like he did

As my worthless little tribute
To my hero,
Tonite I shall indulge
Want more things and umbrellas

Go easy, treat myself
Just for going on
Despite, in spite
All the sorrow he caged in his eyes

Your Wife

Your wife, she, looks a little bit like me. Not exactly like me. That would mean you married her out of your spite for me. But I know, she has some of my traits. The way her hair falls, or how her eyes are cute, lips are thin. Or how she ties a sari. Or how's she's just so plain. No unreal sheen comes along with her. The kind of sheen that often attracts men, she desperately lacks it. Although, there is this thing that she is so completely ladled in her innocence, that it makes up for all dearth of sheen and undoes other lacunae, if any. She's much like me. I am not like her. She's like me, however. Corollaries aren't gonna hold, you know. 

When we were, you know, together, I always thought if I was your original kind of female. I mean if released in a jungle of women of all kinds, would you pursue me? Probably not. I must be bonkers to assume that. But with time, I began believing either one of the the following facts could be true.

Either, you actually like nerdy lost women. Who had an air of awkwardness about them. Who weren't entirely fluent in their thoughts, fluid in their motion. You kind of felt drawn to that, imperfection. Staggering aberration of perfection. That you liked women as they came, for real, flawed, loving, with a mist of sorrow, with a heart full of love. Or, that I had changed you. Metamorphosed you from the skirt chaser that many men come as, to someone more genuine. Who could see through clothes, and even a little bit of skin. That I had made you the man you are. And then left you. 

Quietly, on your own, you didn't pause to give a fuck. And went ahead to find someone like me. 

Goin Home to Hide

Goin home after several months
Since November,
Yeah, it's been December,
And the rest of this year

Has been this long,
Precisely cuz
I wouldn't know
What I would do there

Breaking this routine could be
Harsh on my peace
But I can't be here nomore
So I've booked my tickets

I am going home to hide
Ain't gonna meet nobody
Just stay in my room
Draw the curtains shut

Nobody shall enter
Nobody shall leave
And I will stay as shielded,
As could be, and camouflaged

So much so that
My mother won't know
That I am home and hiding
Seven days

Living in mild brown daylight
Sipping teas and swiveling in my head
Goin home to hide
And regather myself, but mostly to hide