…remember June of 2018?
You quoted Pushkin that came as a surprise. I had come to know you in few hours of an unlikely rendezvous in a strange city; found you unpredictable. Enjoyed the swings, transitions.
Pushkin in Venice!
I was floored.
—You, a poet?
—No, you said. Love poetry.
The effect was tremendous.
Or, was it the setting?
Or, all of them, as a combination?
One thing is certain. I got electrified by the lyrical fragment and the magic it unleashed.
Solidity—as rendered in soft focus. The damp breeze grew scented; birds sang sweetly; the dull turned luminous, while we sailed:
Still I remember you appear
Before me like a vision fleeting,
A beauty’s angel pure and clear.
Neruda quoted in Paris.
In the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, while taking a selfie; out of the blue, in a sonorous voice, a recitation that altered everything for me:
My love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.
How much I enjoyed your company! Clear laughter. The frankness of the eyes and the voice. The natural candor.
The simplicity. The unpretentiousness.
Alive, in a deadening landscape.
We crafted dreams. Things moved fast. I was happy. The online dating games were exhausting.
Finding love, especially for a young immigrant, is difficult in a foreign city.
You were different.
Those last seven days!
We had become friends from utter strangers.
I wanted that status to change—from friends to lovers, and then, legally wedded couple.
Frankly, I had never bothered about arts. Never heard about these writers. I was not keen to know them further. My mind only understands figures, columns and calculations. Rest matters not.
But I was intrigued.
How did a computer professional know literature? Engineers are creative, somebody once told me.
You discussed places. Music. Painting. Fashion. Street food.
My soul mate, I said.
My real love of life!
Over the weekend, you said you were OK with marriage.
That night, I could not sleep.
We decided to catch up in New York.
Things changed there.
You wanted more time.
The conversation grew short.
After three weeks, I sent the following lines:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
Got a terse query: Since when an accountant turned literary?
After separation, I wrote back.
The answer never arrived.
Can people be so fickle in a market economy?
The hurt did not show. Immigrant friends told me of similar betrayals.
—We no longer believe in romance, they said. All crap!
I nodded. We were automatons battling hard for more profits.
Yesterday, I saw you in Central Park. You did not notice me, lost in your own world.
Quoting Petrarch, in a sonorous voice, over cell phone!
Sunil Sharma is Mumbai-based senior academic, critic, literary editor and author with 19 published books: Six collections of poetry; two of short fiction; one novel; a critical study of the novel, and, eight joint anthologies on prose, poetry and criticism, and, one joint poetry collection. He is a recipient of the UK-based Destiny Poets’ inaugural Poet of the Year award—2012. His poems were published in the prestigious UN project: Happiness: The Delight-Tree: An Anthology of Contemporary International Poetry, in the year 2015. Sunil edits the English section of the monthly bilingual journal Setu published from Pittsburgh, USA: http://www.setumag.com/p/setu-home.html
For more details, please visit the blog: http://www.drsunilsharma.blogspot.in/