I wish I had met you at IIT Kharagpur. Now the knowledge that you were there and we were perhaps in the same room haunts me.
There were so many man-boys there, I was busy not looking. And I had left my heart in Mumbai, feeling it being broken by someone else. Would you have looked me in the eye? Would you – scrawny man-boy – have looked at the whale I am even now but you now call yours with any affection then? Would I have shed my insecurities sooner than my clothes?
I’d have walked with you in the night. Sat on one of those organised roads with the dividers that my friends saw fit for vandalising in the darkness. And in the darkness found you and your breath and warmth. Maybe some conversation.
Maybe walked to where is claimed to be the last sighting of Netaji Subhashchandra Bose. Oh history. The only topic I can beat you at today.
The only topic I live in – of course, the past.
I wish I had met you at IIT Kharagpur (and yet I think I have) for this intense fernweh you stir in me, for the diaspora that does not let me breathe even though I am in our country and because you are not. I wish I could share with you the tune I heard that night and these nebulous explosions in my chest (right where you kissed me last time), and I wish I could put in words precisely the smell (of winter, of grass, of naïve hopes, of roads to darker ends) that haunts, haunts me when I think of my time at IIT Kharagpur.