When this is over

When this is over,
I want to take my time
And notice how the street curls into the road behind my house.

When this is over,
I want to watch the kites
perched on the tower
that I know stands a few meters away.
Hearing the trill of these birds is not enough.

When this is over,
I want to run or walk circles in the park,
dodging and snaking my way around the seniors
who pepper their walks
with conversations I don’t understand.
No, I don’t want to understand their talks even now.
But I miss the dribbling and the weaving around.

When this is over,
I want to have a plate of steaming idlis at the Udupi restaurant nearby,
savour the sweet sambar,
and gulp the hot coffee
that I’ve never been able to replicate at home.

When this is over,
I want a home
buzzing with people.
I want loud conversations that start in the evening,
and continue till the early hours of the next morning,
have heated debates
that will amount to nothing,
tell Shripad his arguments don’t make sense,
and yet know he won’t stop debating.
Not that I would want him to.

When this is over,
I don’t want to make another video call.
I don’t want to watch faces filled in a grid on a screen,
my eyes shifting from one cell to another.
I don’t want to have to wait for that extra second of silence
to know the other has finished talking.
I don’t want that nervous exchange of glances with the other 2-dimensional faces on the grid,
wondering who should speak next.
I don’t want the need to fill in that silence
with voices.

When this is over,
I want wide open spaces
with people in it.

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