Before I met you, I had no memory of this city. I had visited it a few times with my parents during summer vacations. I remember stopping at random shops to pick mangoes on the way and my mother reminding us not to soil our clothes because mango stains are too hard to get rid of. Mangoes, road trip, my mother teaching us old Bollywood songs while my father slept most of the time – that is all I remember. You had laughed when I told you this because when I met you, I did not like mangoes at all.
But with you next to me, the city did not feel new when I first looked at the temples on the riverbanks ahead of me. This city was so deeply embedded in your stories, your poems, your memories that I felt it seep into me when I first kissed you. When you smiled at my desire of together forever, I knew you were imagining of us sitting at a riverbank in this city. I knew the city by heart from the time you left one weekend without informing me but then kept sending me pictures every few hours of what you were up to. There were no words exchanged that week till you came back to me but every image helped me forgive you for running away. When you took me with you next time, I felt like you were sharing a secret with me, something no one else would ever know.
Reading the name of this city, a place that is a second home to you and me, a place whose waters are witness to the promises we made to each other, the name that makes me miss you with a new intensity today.