A room with walls painted the sound of rain. Yellow light bouncing off my bookshelves, fanning some stories, banishing others into dark solitude. On the uneven floor, a mattress lies covered with that cotton bedspread, the colour of autumn, coarse and handwoven. The window is agape, cooling this long summer night and a breeze lilts in. A glass of nimbu pani sweats, encircled in its wreath of condensation. The night is silent, as silent as snow, and I can hear my heart beating. Calmly. Pirouetting in the pool of light, memories confuse themselves with wishes. My tired eyes strain to read between the lines I've already rewritten. The curtain flutters and flails in the fanciful breeze. The yellow flowers on it rise, expecting a new lease of life and then, collapse, breathless and disappointed. Shadows ink the walls and I watch them dance. Merging in and out of my consciousness, they fight for attention, only to dissolve into shades of light. It's warm and the mogra flowers are exhaling their fragrance in desperation. I smell impending death and crush them before they turn to rust. Footsteps? Did I hear footsteps? Yes, but they seem to be walking away. The breeze has stopped its playful banter and the curtains lie inert, looking vacantly at the stillness. I realise I've been holding my breath. And exhale. For you're not here.