To Deepika


I know you carry these royal drapes
like someone born to be a queen.
But behind those silks and satins
Aren’t you that grungy Veronica?
Dragging Meera’s luggage over the steep staircase
Pulling a first-time date closer
As the DJ played Sharabi, and you go crazy on the floor.
Thinking that if you held a man tight enough
The pain of your parents never phoning you
Will somehow melt away, like the ice cubes in your vodka glass.

You look so poised, so full of gravitas – is that the word?-
But doesn’t the twinkle in your eye suggest
You can anytime break into a mock welcoming bow
And say, ‘Aap Guatam ke mom hain? This way please!’
Or flutter a mischievous lash and feign having been wronged
‘That is his bun in my oven!’
But knowing real pain is good education
And you had your first heartbreak
And you wanted to smash that mirror into smithereens
But in the end , Viru Paji,
Gautam is not what it was all about,
It was about finding yourself ,
through the fire of pain, suffering and loneliness.
And you did.

Yes, you look all heavy and grounded and queenly and all that
But can you cloak the impetuous Leela under those folds?
Remember how you surprised Ram
By kissing him on his lips, the very first time you set eyes on him?
Now which man won’t like that?
Lahu moonh lag gaya, Ram was left wondering.
And your risqueun Ishqyaun Dhishqyaun
Where you could finally drop your last shred of inhibition
And laugh at your own seismic sensuality.
But no you never lost your innocence
Through this rites of passage
You could ask a cocky Shahrukh
From where he bought that bakwas dictionary
Which didn’t have the word ‘impossible’
And completely floor him.
And he could carry you over those 300 hill steps
You in your virginal white
As easily as he was carrying a wispy hansini.

Bajirao better watch out.
Svelte and sexy you may be,
From head to toe, spelling out love.
But you are no push over, when push comes to shove
For you are Piku
Who can love without judging, yes,
But on her own terms.
Little girl blue, looking for love, yes
But not with just curls and pinks
Also a bit of quirks, and a lot of kinks.
A real woman, then.
Isn’t that what you are, in the end?

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