The English name for her
Is Tuberose, a name so unimaginative
For a flower such as
She’s not much to look at I admit,
Ordinary as flowers go,
Too tall, too thin and she scatters
Easily, one ill-wind away
By day you’d pass, unimpressed,
The bunch you stuck into a vase
Recycled from an old gin bottle
That you were too middle-class to throw away.
The green and white of her is unassuming,
Like I said, she’s not a great beauty.
But no sorceress in history of sorcery
Has been much to look at.
And, sorceresses like all nocturnal creatures grow more powerful as evening approaches.
An hour to dusk and
You cannot walk past the same Rajnigandha bouquet
Without being magicked by her dusky scent.
I said to a sister-friend rather cleverly that Rajnigandha smells of sex.
But that’s not
Unlike the bedazzling intensity of Raat-Ki-Raani or the virginal sweetness of Shiuli,
The perfume of Rajnigandha is harder to decode.
You pass her in the early evening hours
As the day sighs tiredly into dusk
And her scent tendrils curl up,
You clutch at the cabinet she’s stood upon
A rush of memories,
The dust motes of old love notes
You water to life with hot tears of regret,
The shimmering heat of
Amir Khan singing Marwa
You do not move, you cannot,
The flickering fishtail you sacrificed to grow these awkward legs,
Every step taken to get to important places,
To be important things to important people.
While you dissolve into seafoam.
She makes you feel, the sorceress.
She’s not a hard taskmaster though
Hers is not a hectoring tone.
But the magic is potent,
She reminds you while there’s still time,
Of the lump of longing that burns the throat
Secret yearnings, that you’ve put away
Of the girl you were,
Hopeful, spirited, eager to live,
To whom you promised the earth.
She reminds you of those promises
That you didn’t keep
Not to lovers, for they come and go.