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You put on your best perfume and finest jewellery to greet me. You forget I have wallowed in your dust which is now an elemental part of me. I dont need to remember what you look like without that expensive dress – it is a part of my subconscious memory. You dont need to woo me with the glitter applied haphazardly by an inexperienced brush – your pathetic attempts with rouge and lipstick are wasted on me…me, whose every pathetic first attempts you were witness to.

I dont know you anymore – this stranger in the high heels blowing smoke rings in my face, bending backwards trying to fulfill my every need, taking my scorn with a smile, my rudeness with a laugh. Who begs where she used to demand. Who has masked the silent accusation in her eyes with a vacant look. Who has, with her excessive politeness, brought home the fact that we dont belong anymore. That you can never ‘leave for a while’, its always permanent…at least for those left behind. That you cant have your cake and eat it too.

Except that we do belong… and always will. Nothing can take away the endless years of hope, laughter, success, failure, pain and growing-up which we lived through together. Nothing can replace shared history. So you can keep your South City Mall, your shiny new restaurants, your ‘speed of home delivery service’ for those will judge you by them. I am content with a walk down Red Road with the green Maidan beside me, a phuchkawalla with his sweat-mixed tetul jol, and a sunset over Victoria. You dont need to slap on the paint for me, I will always think of you in sepia.

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