You did promise me, standing next to the bakul tree near ebbing Jamuna
Or was it a kadamb tree next to serene Ganga, or was it furious Mayurakshi
Up in the hills, next to a krishnachura, it doesn’t matter, I still wake up with the
Scent of tagar in your hair, after so many years, in this country of plastic flowers,
Where rivers are pits of filth, and I remember, you did promise me: I’m waiting.
Not those modern diseases where termites nibble on your memories, my mind is
A desert which once was green, like the old dimaru tree near the station, where the
Accumulating dust hides its shape, I don’t remember when I last ate, yet I taste the
Nashpati you gave me that day, I don’t remember what you wore, a yellow veil, but
I remember those lips, like a slaughtered pigeon, you did promise me: I’m waiting.
Perhaps I died soon after, in a war I’d imagine, maybe in Kurukshetra, or fighting the
Plumed soldiers of young Alexander, or the devotees of big-footed Kanishka, or the
Fur-clad descendents of Taimur, where a leaden sword unmade my heart, or perhaps
It was a copper bullet from the gun the pale-faced ruffians carried, or was it was a bayonet
Wound amidst the ice, I don’t remember, except, you did promise me: I’m waiting.
I couldn’t leave, perhaps, I was reborn, under a new tree, next to a new river, or was I
Resurrected in the blood-soaked fields, among rusty metals and rotting flesh, smeared in
Dry earth desirous of water, I couldn’t leave, as I long for that crunchy, succulent taste of
That green nashpati, I grow an orchard, as those scarlet lips haunt my sleep, I slave for a
Butcher outside the city, and the blood predicts, you did promise me: I’m waiting.
Now, I’m lost in the scent of the tagar in your hair, lost in the yellow veil, perhaps with
Minakari in it, lost in the hunger for that half-eaten nashpati, lost for that touch of your
Fleshy lips which no amount of blood can replace, now, lost, I stand under each lonely
Tree and feel your whispering promise, now, lost, I swim each filthy river and feel your
Touch, which I don’t remember, now, lost, I don’t remember you, now, lost, I’m waiting.