An Encounter at the Mall

An Encounter at the Mall

We look at each other

Awkwardness written on our faces

Unsure if we should be hugging

As we usually would have done

Each one waiting for the other

To make the first move.

Neither of us do.

A few embarrassing seconds pass

Too late for the hug now.

silhouette of man and woman under yellow sky

 “Been a long while, all’s well?’

I nod.

She nods.

We nod with assumed concern

At our replies.

“You’ve put on weight.”

“You haven’t changed much.”

“Come shopping?’

“No, yes, well…yes.”

A heavy pause hangs between us

The years of misunderstanding.

“All’s well?”






“I need to be going. Drop in sometime.”

“Yes, getting late. Sure will.”

The heaviness…

Our feet are leaden.

“Do you think about me?”

I want to ask.

My tongue is leaden.

She makes the first move

She always did, she always could

“Bye.” My tongue is still leaden.

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Vidya Shankar
Vidya Shankar, a widely published Indian poet, writer, editor, English teacher, and a “book” in the Human Library, says poetry is not different from her. A recipient of literary awards and recognition, she uses the power of her words to sensitize her readers about environmental issues, mental health, and the need to break the shackles of an outdated society. Vidya is the author of two poetry books, The Flautist of Brindaranyam (in collaboration with her photographer husband, Shankar Ramakrishnan), and The Rise of Yogamaya (an effort to create awareness about mental health.) She finds meaning in her life through yoga and mandalas.