Rajnigandha

The English name for her

Is Tuberose, a name so unimaginative

For a flower such as 

Rajnigandha.

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 

          from 

                       falling

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 

        wholly 

                  true.

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, 

Beckoning.

You clutch at the cabinet she’s stood upon

To 

    steady

               yourself.

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,

Legs leaden

The flickering fishtail you sacrificed to grow these awkward legs,

Pragmatic.

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

Less 

        each 

                  day.

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.

But to 

             yourself.

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