An ode to November by Shriti Chowdhary

November

Photograph by Vikrant Karande

November dips jalebis in kheer And debates the origin of rosgollas With friends wearing saffron sweaters, Rolls of flour are kneaded To crown the biryani handi Cheetahs draw freckles With henna and hibiscus oil Shiuli droops towards an orange To dye her petals tangerine A tired frog uses dew drops as homegrown toner Gandhraj brews a potion So lemony Bees chug down goblets of it, moaning ‘ts nectar, ‘ts nectar, ‘ts nectar Newly married ants Shell pea from pods Caterpillars built sandcastles In cauliflowers trampled Squirrels skateboard On mum’s wedding rajai Laid out on the terrace An old spider is whisked away to a marigold field, He renews his vows, That of a single father Spinach leaves air marshall butterflies cruising the dark sky November houses centuries of letters That never made it to our doorsteps Lovers visit this Dalhousie cornerstone To breathe in the parched ink And kiss under the bell tower Morgue of Mails, they call it, Yet the forgotten live more freely Than December’s festivities ever could.

by Shriti Chowdhary

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