With bags tied to our backs,
we wait at the platform.
Dusk borders the skies above
enveloped by thick black clouds; below
against white walls with scribbled names,
we share laughter and small talk
about chai and the weather.
Taking warmth from cups
against freezing bare palms,
we watch baggage balanced
on tiny coolie heads,
wading through crowds;
hawkers with nasal voices
calling out to frantic travelers
– bobbing heads, a blur in seconds.
Leaning against a grey marble pillar,
he stands clad in a black cashmere sweater;
blowing into his tea, he glances my way
against the dark of the moonless night.
his eyes hold mine for a moment too long,
the moment broken by the blow of a whistle,
the crackling voice of a woman
from blaring speakers above.
217 the announcer calls out;
dragging piles of heavy bags
we clamber into the train.
He waits next to my window
as I walk up to him with jelly like legs;
no more goodbyes, I whisper.
Against the darkness of the night
his body is a silhouette now;
his mind, oblivious to my thoughts
his presence, a utopia in my brain.
*First published in Pratilipi, November 2011.