This is where I first kissed. Before we held hands, I remember, I wiped my sweaty hands on the park bench. When he broke my heart, six months later, the park bench held my tears too. First loves never leave us, they say. I still think the park bench holds my scent.
A distinctive reminder of me, and him and Gulmohar blossoms. Love stories in the mohalla1, always began here. Not everyone carved their names into the Gulmohar tree, though. Many surreptitious lovers just left the print of their lips, the lines of their palms and the ghost of their first love here.
both a blessing
and a curse –
The park is a labyrinth now, of first loves. My hiraeth2 filled with the ghosts of memories past. My ghost travels with me sometimes. On lonely winter days, leaving me with a whiff of Gulmohar blossoms, as if in a dream. But mostly, she goes back to the park, and an innocent time when forever was a first kiss and eternity was the song of the Mynah dancing in the rain.
finding the key
in the Mynah’s song
1. Mohalla is a Hindi word meaning locality or neighborhood.
2. Closely translated, hiraeth is Welsh word meaning homesickness of a place or home that one cannot go back to or perhaps one that never was; a yearning for the lost places of your past that cannot be revisited.