His eyes betray him.
His skin is acceptably pale, freckles prickling his nose, hair mousy like his father’s, sun-bleached at the temples.
But charcoal lashes ring almond eyes, irises dark as cinnamon bark. One look and the chill English rain evaporates, the wind loses its icy nip and with it the stink of petrol and chemical perfume.
Now, the stunted oaks are gone, replaced by ferny tamarinds, pods clacking in a breeze soft with jasmine and musk, cardamon and sandalwood. A chai wallah calls, pouring a boiling arc of saffron scented tea from one pot to another, rickshaws bump and rattle, always onward, always gone.
Yes, his eyes betray him. But not to you.
To you they are a world you’re breathless to understand and with each stolen glance you yearn to discover more.