At Leopold Cafe, Colaba
in November 2016,
I sit at a table with a coke float.
My father and my sister are with me.
I wear a pink t-shirt with blue graphics
and Coldwater Creek jeans, purple
like the insides of a mulberry.
We have come to this city
after many years, and remember
an era spent in Colaba.
We reminisce about the years spent
when the city was still called Bombay —
the girls’ school where we wore
blue tunics with checked sashes,
where I wrote poems during
my math classes.
The statue we passed by
while on the red BEST bus —
a statue suspended in road dust.
Catching Robin Hood Prince of Thieves at Eros
when multiplexes were still unknown;
buying long skirts from the Causeway
where a golden gramophone was always
on sale, out of place among sequinned bags;
the wafting of fish-scent from Sassoon Dock
even as I tried to take an afternoon nap;
evenings spent at Land’s End in Marine Drive
watching fishing boats lantern-lit under
a dark starry sky over a matching dark sea;
morning walks at The Gateway of India
soaked in sunlight.
There are too many memories
to recount here but now…
sitting here in Leopold Cafe,
I feel that I have reached
the pinnacle of contentment sipping
ice cream from my coke float.
I can dream away of being
on the Arabian Sea in a lantern-lit boat.