Six o’clock

The streets lie still, quiet rows of light twinkling in the dark. A balcony on the second floor, filled with pink glow. Lines of green, yellow and red, hanging from the facades of dark houses, windows dim and deserted. At the turn of the lane a tea stall waits. On the lids of the glass jars, five candles stand at different heights, their glow reflecting on the dark glass, almost photographic.

The shops are closed. In the market down the street, roadside vendors are peddling samosa and jalebi. A few carts of fuchka, a few selling momo or rolls. A woman sits with a glass box, trading handmade pithe to people going by.

A green strip of light snakes down the street, hanging overhead like a toy aurora. It leads down to the ground where the club makes its puja pandals every year. The crowd is thin. The pandal stands, like a birthday cake that was supposed to be cancelled but wasn’t. A peacock frames the cusp, elephants, horses and camels flank the doorway. A bevy of swans throng the inner sanctum. Around, there are lights.

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