Do I Belong Here?

Sitting silently in the car on an especially daunting Monday morning in the unconquerable traffic, I suddenly noticed the aroma of coffee drifting towards me. It was both – surprising as well as weird. What road here is supposed to smell like coffee?


Curious, I began searching for the source and soon discovered that nested in a dirty corner of the street was a small stall that sold the much-hyped Chennai-special ‘filter coffee’.


Dismayed at the uninteresting explanation, I turned away. The scent didn’t. It bothered me a little. It felt too out of place in that setting.


“Oh, you simplistic piece of beauty, you don’t belong here. You belong to the cups in the homes of lonely hearts, which have won and lost. You belong to frosty winters and heavy downpours. You belong to the 2 AM desk of a writer who is too tired to organize her thoughts. You belong to the 8 PM rehearsal of a budding guitarist who wishes to perfect his original composition for the stage performance next week. You belong to the parched lips and blank head of a helpless student who doesn’t know how she’ll get through the next semester alive. You belong to the dark evenings of memories and nostalgia. You belong to stained tables and unending conversations. But however hard they try, you’ll never belong here, where smoke and soot tarnish your beauty; where waiting gives people headaches; and, where it takes courage to stay sane amidst the incessant honking of busy travellers,” I thought.


Why does everything and everyone seem out of place these days? Why does everything beautiful come from all the wrong places?


“Good morning” doesn’t belong to the radio. It belongs to the voices of warm neighbours who trust each other enough to hand them the keys to their respective homes. “Thank you!” doesn’t belong to the ATMs. It belongs to the eyes of a child whose father just gifted him a toy he always wanted from the store across the street. “Welcome” doesn’t belong on doormats. It belongs to the arms of a long-lost friend when you bump into her at the Dumdum New Market while shopping for Durga Puja. Kisses do not belong to the emojis on your phone screen. They belong to the aftermath of confessions and secrets under starry skies. The scent of roses doesn’t belong to overpriced rolls of tissue paper. It belongs to old letters and open gardens…
Nothing I see belongs where I see it. Or is it that I do not belong here anymore?



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