Wrapped in the fabric
of my pink dupatta,
Begum Bazaar is
the fabled navel in
the eye of antiquity.

The streets stomach
quaintness mutely,
like measured gulps
of Irani chai. We walk on,
moving in a soft-haze

of sounds and colors.
You propose a game of
make-believe. We spend
hours trying to imagine
this street a thousand

clock-years before.
I erase cable poles
and electric wires off
the canvas, then this,
then that, and then some
more. You chuckle.

We’re distracted
by an itr-seller with old eyes
that map sadness on
old-mosque surfaces, selling
perfumes that will linger

long after it’s all over.
The Charminar looks on,
as it drowns under the weight
of its own history, year after year.

Nikita Parik holds a Master’s in Linguistics, a three year diploma in French, and another Master’s in English. Diacritics of Desire (2019) is her debut book of poems, followed by Amour and Apocalypse (2020), a novel in translation (Hindi to English). Her works have appeared in Rattle, U City Review, The Alipore Post, Vayavya, The Bombay Literary Magazine, Bengaluru Review, and others. She currently edits EKL Review.

“Jharokha” was previously published in Ucity Review.