For Julia.

Love across the Salt Desert, re-imagined

Sharif and Modi shook hands in Ufa,
did they later use a loofah
to scrub the stage clean
for the NSAs to then preen?

Aziz said Kashmir, Swaraj said terror
Aziz said Hurriyat, Swaraj said NEVER.

this was not meant to be.
Like two angsty young lovers,
they did not see
how useful
a heart-to-heart could be.

But all was not lost
and open were some doors,
for the Rangers and BSF met
and so did the DGMOs.

They agreed to be clearer
on issues such as terror,
after every naughty interlude
of erring on the wrong side of error,
where ceasefire violations
were the standard-bearer.

Star-crossed lovers
at the Waldorf Astoria,
only managed small waves
despite their secret euphoria,
which the foreign ministry later denied
as phantasmagoria.

In chilly November, Nawaz and Modi attended
a summit, in the city of love,
where they could have hardly pretended;
who knew then
that a good guftagu was intended.

Suddenly, like ice-breakers,
emerged Doval and Janjua.
Humein lagta hai
kuch kuch hua.

Then came Islamabad
in Sushmaji’s travelogue,
this time with Aziz,
they agreed on a dialogue.

What’s in a name?
Composite, Resumed, Comprehensive;
isn’t it really more of the same?
Truly, this is all just beginning to sound
really lame.

Right then.
Can they hurry up already, we simper,
and if they have to go back to square one,
let it be
“not with a bang but with a whimper.”

Ruhee Neog and Tanvi Kulkarni


Image: Ajay Aggarwal-Hindustan Times, Flickr

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