The year we all watched TV and saw ourselves in Yamuna Sangarasiva
Remember Lata Music Centre? /Remember /the five minutes that turned into a half an hour stop on Sunday afternoons /when you were post idli lunch sweaty cheeked child your father would thumb /through rows of cassette tapes the same way he ran his fingers through your hair /to tuck you into bed at night /Remember glossy cassette sleeve paper cradled in L shaped plastic /the colours that your father would hum /from Jagjit Singh /Pankaj Udas /Mehendi Hassan /Anup Jalota /Remember red cursive font on yellow /jingle that would end side A you’d recite again while flipping over for Side B /remember movie soundtracks from Dil Hain Ke Manta Nahin /Hum /Phool Aur Kaante/Saajan /The year was 1991, everybody else in your class was listening to Jacky Cheung /there was real fear /of somebody finding out what was really happening in your bright red plastic Sony Walkman /fear of head shaking from side to side with palms clasped in mocking Namaste but then this /this is the year Michael Jackson will dance alongside an Odisi dancer /and being brown is /almost /ok again.
Some cities you visit and some you inhabit. In some cities the road names roll off your tongue, Joo Chiat, Koon Seng, Duku road. Google maps show you the route without the short cuts you know from habit. In some cities you know where a half pint of beer costs five dollars, know it is next to the dodgy KTV lounge with the tinted doors you have always been curious to be on the other side of. In some cities, you walk without navigation, without worry, you know the night will end with a two dollar fifty cent bowl of wanton mee, know you will get a soup spoon of black sauce and chilli, know you will shovel with chopsticks into your mouth, know when the auntie from China lands it on your table to say Xie Xie Ni. Some cities feel something like relief. Some cities are absorbed in your imprint, some cities are where the answers should have been.
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