In December

I shut the windows and doors and flung myself
Into a cab to make sure I wasn’t late to welcome
My friend back to the city of dreams that she had
Bid goodbye to almost a decade ago.

I received her at the airport with a big grin and
A copy of Murakami’s After Dark.

There was a little shyness in the air. In the absence
Of phone screens guiding our conversations
Forward, I noticed how small she was, how lazily
her feet danced while casually sizing me up and
Down in a homecoming sort of way and held me
In an embrace, thereby melting the years and the
Punishing distance that had taken root between us.

After exchanging some notes of, “You have changed
So much,” and “Your hair still behaves roguishly,” the
Wind, which had suddenly started to howl in from
The neighbouring town, shoved us into a restaurant that
Served Rajasthani buffet.

We shuffled along and discovered that we still cared
Deeply about each other, that our reunion, counted
Among the universal scheme of things, yielded nothing;
But for us, it remained a shooting star, with phulkas
sinking in our tummies, like pebbles in the ocean,
Malpuas raining down on us, gulab jamuns bowling us
Out, fellow customers dusting snow off their whiskers
And bangs, the ground shivering and turning grey, and
The parking lot wolfing down the last rays of the Sun.

Karthik Keramalu is a film critic and writer. His works have been published in The Bombay Review, The Quint, Deccan Herald, Film Companion, etc.

Featured image: Sehajpal Singh/Unsplash