Like an old man of the hill, the houses lie.
It’s like touching history;
Like a world trapped within a building,
Like a time machine,
Connecting you to someone who lived
And loved so long ago.
You sit with your back facing the sun.
Beneath your skin’s veneer
Lies cemented fear.
The shadow reminds you,
You’re not only your soul, but a walking
Creature, treading upon this miracle,
Finding your way through things,
Without knowing what half of it is like.
Kolkata houses thousands of red-oxide floors
And sleepy green-shuttered windows.
The spacious porches on the ground floor
With their intricate cornices,
Elaborate wrought-iron grills,
And open terraces are a part of the city’s unique DNA,
As distinct to its landscape
As a fingerprint.
You burn too brightly,
And collapse into yourself every night.
I stand by your umbrella eyelids,
And watch them open
To all the wrong seasons.
The houses have broken locks,
One for every promise that wasn’t kept.
One for every part the waves had washed away.
One for each arrowhead of old hilts
Of broken swords and armour,
That failed to protect.
Your body looks like a half knit sweater.
People come and leave with a ball of yarn,
But never halt to fix it.
The walls have defied eons.
The whispers of the ages,
The voices of old, the clash of metal on metal,
And the pounding of Angrez and Nawabs and Rajas,
Remain cloistered in the dungeons.
When the loneliness gnaws at you,
I animatedly whisper to you
Parts of Thakurmar Jhuli.
Darling, you’re not alone inside.
Today we took a trip to the ruins.
You lost pieces of your heart here and there,
I built a home with those pieces
And wrote a poem under the politicized sky,
Where we both stood at one-hand-distance,
Still making each other feel
The safe kind of alone.
And I left the broken door slightly ajar.
If you change your mind.
Just in case.