By Churchgate Station, 22 August 1997, Mumbai
This night is the wing of a crow. Black with the slick of
wet feather and skin. One beady eye following the surge of the
flood water towards Marine Drive, rushing to
meet the sea.
This night is a birthday cake. The lamp posts swaying, fizzing
singing with the whistling wind. Whipping and lashing raindrops
as big and round as cherries on top.
The revolving rooftop restaurant glows like a beacon. A lighthouse
blinking obstinately while dark clouds consume it
with unsatiated hunger.
The street is a ruby necklace – strings of taillights
disappearing into the storm-wrung horizon. Steamy breath
rising from its engorged gutters.
All sounds are muted by the pounding rain
except my beating heart,
that throbs in my ears, as I clutch my beloved’s hand.
This should have been a celebration. But we are shivering in a bus shelter.
The night finally breaks into a quiet dawn,
who knows nothing of the tantrums he threw earlier.
We gather our things and jump on a lone bus – sailing along this swampy road.
The sunlight seeps into our damp crevices.
We huddle together for warmth,
watch cars floating by like ducks in a muddy bath.