Memory is… images of a prepubescent boy cycling home,
Parag milk packets in one of his arms,
feeding biscuits to a stray gaggle of brown dogs, wagging their shins.
Large half-moon eyes, kind salivating tongue,
his smile showed no cookie-crescent as he fed them all;
he was my first love.
More than the girls, the calves and canines knew his way home,
this small-towner of a bygone Bhaarat who found humans in animals,
he grew hunger in me.
Now in this morphing, super-quick India, his animals are holographic.
His love fades cookie-slim into the sun of many states, tastes, time zones.
He has not one trail from work to home, but ten homes.
He, the colour of chocolate, almond-abdomened,
he found love in many cities,
animals in liberated women,
who fed off his glucose, milk, sugar, marmalade;
they never grew thin.
Over the trail of his virgin-white honey, the scent of shudh desi,
Old world in new crackling wrapping,
always with a 30% improved marking.
Bearing the saccharine of my bites and goosebumps,
he now breaks under my neurotic granular breath.
chai mein dubha hua – tea-dunked, wafer-thin, milk crux-ed.
My Pickwick, Marie, Parle G, Tiger,
Oreo, Bourbon, mall-shelved Belgian,
same old-same new,
premium cream-crunched love.
Note: In Hindi, Bhaarat – India; shudh desi – purely country-made; chai mein dubha hua – tea-dunked.