There is something odd about the people who wear fakes. One is prone to forgive these transgressions as honest carelessness as opposed to deliberate carelessness, particularly if that someone is wearing a dark blue collared T Shirt on a rainy day in Delhi. She had just finished drinking half a liter of thick mango pulp and was puffing her chest up as if that would relieve the brain freeze! As she inflated yet again, she caught me staring and exhaled violently.
My mind wanders about, does wearing a polo T-shirt make you a good horse rider or a polo player? What does the cross between a frog and an alligator represent? The logo on her T-Shirt? These meditations were intruded by her waving her scarf and saying a hurried “BBye” as one says to little kids in a cheerful not-to-fear-me voice! I waved lamely at the blue poppies on flaming yellow lilies of her scarf.
Every summer I visited home during the summer break from school, mom would be shocked and took it upon herself to repair me as best as only she could over the next few days. That also included shopping for my clothes. I had been home and repaired! I had new sneakers, a pair of Jeans and a teal coloured collared T-shirt. On the front side there were four squares of different colours: pink, dark maroon and other two colour I do not remember at the moment. It was our final meeting to decide our future course and nature of our relationship that day.
We met at the bus stand opposite the park hotel in central Delhi. The air was humid, it was pleasant otherwise as only Delhi monsoon can be. We took an auto rickshaw to the Nehru Park in the area where most foreign diplomats stay and I tipped the guy three rupees. We walked, first single file, then, with me leading and then, side by side to the far side bench. I was savouring the two accidents of our knees knocking against each others during the auto rickshaw ride. I was hoping I could just let her walk in the front and let me watch her. It would have been appropriate to say I wanted my eyes to feast on her image had it not been for my overwhelming desire to be on her side as well.
It started to rain, No! It started to pour and she held aloft her blue-poppies-yellow-lilies scarf as a shield to the rain. She gave me a glance, a half invite of a hurried glance. The rain drenched her lilies in minutes and the alligator label on her pocket looked like a small frog now. Her jeans were wet, her feet, nails neatly trimmed, fleshy, as if they had no metatarsals to hold up, were wet too. She was shivering, I was shivering of desire.
She turned around and asked me why? I had no idea what that solitary “WHY” meant as I craned my neck forward to get closer to the meaning of that word. I had recently been diagnosed with a bad eye sight and was wearing spectacles that made me uncomfortable and I was given to craning my neck forward. In one fluid movement she ripped my glasses off from my face and flung it into the grassy wet ground.
I could feel the startled break of rhythm of my pounding heartbeat as a small boy shouted “Chai”! He was carrying a small kettle and a line of plastic tumblers in the other hand. He came to us and poured two small glasses. The aroma of cardamom was overwhelming, a couple of sips of the sugary tea triggered the rain to stop. I could no longer find the kid who had offered us the tea. The entire park was vacant except for the two of us.
There is a problem that every lover battles in the presence of his beloved. He wants to be in the moment and he wants to cherish the moment as well.
She asked “Why do you love me”...”so much”. How does a man answer that question, is there an appropriate answer? I had nothing to say as I cleaned my spectacles with a fold of my T-Shirt. She handed over a handkerchief to me and I cleaned my spectacles with it. It was silk! I pocketed the treasure and could feel my skin next to the pocket gladly tingling. She saw it through, there was no way I could be sane in her presence. She was getting angry and frustrated by minute now. She asked me if we should leave. We left.
We took a bus that drove through the wet tree lined streets of Delhi and stopped in front of the Park Hotel. She jumped off the bus into a puddle of water splashing water on my shoes. She flagged down an auto rickshaw and sat in, I joined in quickly before she could say anything. We rode through busy streets, vacant four lane roads, sometime endless, sometime wet and embracing, sometimes branching, caressing the moist cheeks. Roads that led away, astray, sometimes in loops and sometimes witness to my hand holding hers. I never met her again.
I have known men, cousins, co-workers and in my family. They are smart, hard working men of strong character and care a lot for me. I firmly believe that men should be strong and of good moral character.
He asked me if we could meet and decide about our relationship. The “relationship” is in his head and I have honestly never felt anything for him. Today we went together to the park in Delhi, somewhere near the big hotel. It rained heavily and we had tea. Too much sugar.
He is a sad guy, something has been bothering him a lot lately. I am going to ask him stop his love rants and live his life. My work is piling up since he has been here and I am unable to get him out of my mind. Yet, I am not happy when I think about him. I can’t imagine life with him, he is so thin, I can just make out his nose standing out of his sad face. He doesn’t even seem to know what a black head is. Ha!
He claims he loves me, I am sure he doesn’t know what love is. He isolates things and frets over them, mistaking parts for the whole. He is one who thinks music is nothing but a series of notes arranges one after other. A flower is nothing, but the petals arranged in a pattern. Love is nothing, but a series of warm woolly passions marching in line.
I met him, met him in the park and it rained. I hated his foggy glasses, they always come in the way. I can’t get my exasperation across to him, he is hiding behind those big glasses deliberately. I snatch those stupid glasses and fling them into grass. He seems blinded.
I can’t understand how and why he thinks he loves me. More importantly, he doesn’t know me. He thinks he does, he says he knows me across eons. That idiot! Will there be anything that can drill sense in him? I am afraid: nothing. I am sure it will be a sad life for someone who marries him. I, for sure, would not be the one!
I can’t see how his longing for me can soften my aversion to him, I have burnt all his letters that he wrote from his college. I read his poetry, one of the poems in blood! He is sick! On my birthday, he sent me a blood donation card. He had donated a couple of pints of blood in my love! Friends tell me that I am his love, madness and pivot ever since he was a teenager. I am amused and amazed at this silliness. He uses big long winding sentences. He is forever posing and trying to be smart. I hate him!
He joined me on the bus ride as the bus moved through dirty filthy streets of Delhi. Monsoon is very dirty and there is mess and slush all over. I got off the bus into a small pot hole. God only knows how he moves ever so slowly, he is so creepy!
I thought the auto rickshaw ride would finish soon, it took ages. The auto moved through the vast lawns of India Gate to cross the raging monsoon Yamuna river. A raging river always seem to clean the filth of this river.