Photo credits – the graceful Soumyo Das (as always, you’re the man)
Last night I came face to face with the person this blog has moaned and crooned about for the entirety of its existence. My respect for the universe and the way it works has shot up by leaps and bounds. To make any sense of what I am talking about I would have to go back to the beginning of the evening.
All evening I had traveled the length and breathe of Maharashtra – in a car, a bus and later auto rickshaws. These almost always included couples kissing each other, holding hands and whispering sweet nothings to each other. All this while I observed, pretending to mind my own business. My brothers as usual had new women in their endeavor to find one or to find many! Then there was me – pining for someone who perhaps decided to meet me out of pity.
The idea was basically to help deal with the emotions attached to the situation, take advantage of it and work on my craft, which is of course writing. Somewhere in these pages, I know I have mentioned that there is nothing one can do when you want to write. Hemingway said it – all you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. Or in the 21st century get puffed up eyes for staring at a screen for too long. At some point this month I felt I could not do it anymore, writing was no longer the joy I professed it to be.I was stumbling, rambling and stagnating all at the same time. It was questioning the very basis of my life, the reason why I felt I was still alive. Was there anything one could do? I thought of a plan revolving around her.
This person played all the right notes in these few years that I knew her. So much so that I would spend all my waking hours thinking of her. At night if I had dreams, it probably would be about her as well. A year and a half removed from leaving her outside her apartment, I came face to face with her again.
At this point, Bombay froze.
Time stopped still as my mind went back all the way to those days and nights we’d spend together laughing like there was no tomorrow. For this time we didn’t speak, I wondered if there was anything left in the gas tank, or whether this was truly the end of the ride.
Now with her in front of me, the questions cropped up thick and fast once again, but to my surprise there was hardly any conversation before she disappeared into the night. As quickly as she was there, she left. The same old story playing out in a different setting – only that we lived in the same world, but we live in different ones now.
In the writer’s mind’s eye there was a frenzied flurry of activity. The activity began almost when the meeting hour was drawing nearer and nearer. The hair was still short, the glasses were oval – almost spherical. She still enjoyed wearing huge earrings that would swivel in the night sky as she walked around drawing the attention of everyone around. I don’t know what I did wrong or said wrong, but once she left I felt horrible. The kind of feeling you get when you’re falling off the edge of a cliff or a building. You know the end is more than near – its finally here.
As stubborn as I was (or am) – I texted her very early the next morning and no surprises when I didn’t get a reply. In the olden days, you’d have to wait for an acknowledgement or a reply by post. Two blue ticks does the job now and she’s read it – so we know that too.
I will never hold your hand again and walk the streets of Calcutta, Bangalore or Delhi. We won’t laugh at others miseries and talk late into the night with little care about anything else. There will never be another wait for her to land and text me that she had a nice flight, as I would drive her home. The small intricate designs that she does all over wherever she goes serves as a testament to her creativity – her gift that I hope will bring joy one day to many. There is a reason why I always preferred Betty to Veronica in comics – the girl next door who would think nothing of taking you on in a video game – not caring much about what others think and smoking cigarettes like there is no tomorrow. There won’t be another moment in space and time when we would connect except when it came to mutual greetings – almost as certain as death and taxes as the years go by. There will always be a part of you that’s with me – you sure as hell better feel the same.
Autumn is a beautiful month in that sense. It teaches you that it is OK to let go. Things happen, the leaves yellow – but desperately try and hang onto the trees like I did with my last pleasure who was this girl. There is a certain relief that the rains have come and gone – the dryness is a filter to forget. There is calm setting in my heart once again, as the writer feels the rejection warm him up, warming him up in a way so that he can tell stories – stories of others and like this one, stories of his own.