Roommates – Jagari Mukherjee, Kolkata


My roommates and I danced
With one another in the dark room
Attached to the terrace. The music was low
So that the landlady who lived below
Would not get annoyed. We danced 
With one another for we had no boys.
We danced to the Ketchup song
As the scent of lilacs
Was ushered in from the terrace
By the cool evening air.
After dancing, we were hungry
And went to Funtoons where a plate
Of chicken fried rice could be split
For Rs. 20 each. 

We had no laptops, we had no smartphones —
Just books and stationery and each other.
We were happy. We were different
From teenagers of today with money for 
Apple phones. We had money only for cheap movie tickets
And bought clothes from street stalls.
The cinema hall was our place of pilgrimage.
Our shampoos, creams and Walkman were
Meant to be borrowed and loaned.

We were happy back then
And in harmony even now
Although we have our own addresses.
I sometimes miss dancing
In a dark room with
Four other girls enveloped
By the scent of lilacs.


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