Saturday, June 28, 2008
A frown crossed his forehead. Unknown number. A credit card promotion, or worse, some stupid wrong number. But somehow he forced himself to pick the phone.
"Abhi!! How are you?? And where in hell are you? This is not your number I had..."
"Will you let me speak, or would you stop only after you have given me a questionnaire of 1077 questions..."
Abhi. His best friend. Correction. His mostest bestest friend, as they used to call each other in school. Last known, he had been doing his BA in Allahabad. And after all these days, to get a call from him was surprising, to say the least.
His thoughts went back to the days when they just used to sit back and enjoy the chai and pakodas served by his mom while they sat in the lukewarm winter sun of the foothills, ostensibly studying English. Reminded him of the song Dil Dhoondta Hai. That had been a different age altogether.
Snapping back to the present by the sound of the bar waiter asking him if he wanted a refill, he wondered how Abhi had managed to get his number. One more change. In those good old days of yore, he had been the more resourceful of the two. Anyways what mattered was that they were meeting the coming weekend. At Hard Rock Cafe. Some things never change, but most things do. So a devout Brahmin who used to think of talking of liqour as sinful was meeting him at the best pub in town.
Hard Rock Cafe, 2012 hrs Saturday evening.
"Abhi, you punk, you will never change. You are late today too."
"I know you would have come 5 min ago, too. No way you could have come at 8 pm sharp."
"Hmm... So what's the big news?"
"Just that there are two newses. Yours truly has cleared the IAS exam."
"Don't you f*** around with me.. You.. IAS... Too good man!!!"
"That's the lesser thing. I came out here and fished you out of the dregs of Bangalore to invite you to my wedding."
"Who's the girl? Neha??"
"You have to be kidding!! In the name of all that is holy, how did you persuade her?"
"She persuaded me."
"Then it is okay."
Hard Rock Cafe, 2329 hrs. 4 drinks down each.
"Hey Rish, they've gotta shut shop. Let's go."
"Abhi, you know something? We have not spoken a sentence each for the past two odd hours to each other."
"Yes man, that's the way good conversations are had. Just like good ol' days."
"Just like good ol' day...."
PS: Part fact part fiction story, posted for no other reason but for the satisfaction of Marvin. Apologies to Beauty.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Four months.. She could just not believe it.. It was as if it had been eternity since which she had been waiting.. Thinking, planning, more thinking, more planning... But not a word to anyone.. After all, she had to get his consent... He. Her handsome boss. Well he was indeed handsome..
Snapping out of her reverie into the present, she looked at the sheet of paper lying on her desk scribbled her signature across the bottom line... That was all.. Now it was up to her boss... Would he accept it or not? Life in the armed forces could be difficult for a woman.. And when the boss was as handsome, even more difficult.. But what could she do? He did look a knight straight out of King Arthur's table, when he wore his ceremonial uniform and medals. She let out a sigh...
Once again coming back to her office from her dreams, she reminded herself she had to go to his office... And that too, with the paper.. Well, life is so not fair..
Approaching his office, she saw the PA coming out, and felt a pang of jealousy for the girl who spent all her working day with him.. Why could a junior officer not be the PA of a senior officer... That too, when the senior was so very handsome..
"Sir is busy in a meeting right now, and will be free only after half an hour." She hated the PA for this.
Well, half an hour more.. How does it matter... When she could wait for four months, she could as well wait for thirty minutes...
Finally she is asked to enter into the office.. And there he sits regally on his chair.. She gives him the papers, every nerve in her body at the limits of its tensile strength...
"Okay Veena, your application is approved. You can proceed on your annual leave...."
Saturday, June 21, 2008
But then, he would have been excused if he was to think that all in the world is beautiful and blessed. For he had just been witness to the birth of a new relationship. Like a bird which is excited when it first ventures out to fly, his best friend had been excited. She could just not stop gushing over the guy in her life. A dreamy smile on her face, she was walking in la la land, and beyond. A mention of the guy was enough to send her face into a smile which would lighten up a new moon night. Talking about the guy, she was constantly fiddling with her locks and blushing. He had the funny vision that the guy might just jump out of her locks, but kept it to himself, though he was hard pressed to smother the chuckle. Not worth the effort, though, for she would not have heard the fanfare which follows a Indian crciket team victory in the Eden Gardens.
As they were talking, once in a while she would just reach out for her phone, excuse herself and send a quick message. All with a blush on her face.
All this was so endearing. Almost enought to convert him. But just about almost. For he knew he was past the stage where he could have been converted into a believer in love. Yet, now that he was sitting in his balcony with a mug of steaming black coffee in his hands, watching the crimson sun on its way out after a good day's work, he could feel a funny kind of warmth all over. Yes, the tide had found her feet....
Monday, June 16, 2008
You know when the camera is out of focus, how the night lights blur, leaving glowing dots in your vision? That’s how the wedding hall looked. Blurred and out of focus; something like a surreal dream. The only thing glaringly clear was him.
He sat there cross-legged beside his bride-to-be. But, she didn’t see the bride, couldn’t see the bride. She saw just him, dressed in shimmering white; an attempt perhaps to erase the past and leave the slate to be filled up by an unpredictable future. He looked every bit of the him she knew. Caring, sensitive and gifted with a capacity to love with abandon.
Would he learn to love his bride?
This was a marriage of choice. Not his, but his parents, whom he so loved. The bride was beautiful. But she didn’t see the bride. She just heard rustled whispers of the bridal saree as it rustled with every movement. Every time she looked at the bride, she saw the same face, which stared at her out of her mirror everyday. She saw herself. But, she was not the bride.
Like he was not the groom. It was just his body pledging alliance to a stranger. She knew his heart was not in the marriage. His heart was in the past. It was still tied with invisible bonds to a relationship, which still hadn’t died. She couldn’t remember her name, nor did she have a face to place with this anonymity. She just knew that he had loved this anonymous entity so passionately, that he had blinded himself to love from anybody else.
She knew he was capable of love beyond reason. She wished he had at least for a moment, loved her with the same madness. But he hadn’t.
While she had…
She still did…
Yes, she loved him. And yet, she sat amidst the celebrating crowd, watching him get married to somebody he didn’t love. Why? With every ticking minute, her heart seemed to grow heavier. The world was closing in and she was too numb to run. She wished she would die, but she wished she could live a moment longer, just so that she could see him. She closed her eyes and once again felt the imaginary pleasure of his warm embrace. With every breath came the tantalizing reminder of his heady scent. With her eyes closed, she could feel him with her, as one. When she opened her eyes, he disappeared in to the distance. Why didn’t she ever tell him, how much she loved him?
Maybe because she was too scared of not being able to give him the happiness he deserved. He deserved so much more. He deserved someone who could reciprocate his passion with a madness of her own. She was madly in love with him. She could be the one. She should be the one. But she was not the one.
He was getting married to someone he did not love. He was in love with someone who could not love him back. She was in love with him. But, he would not love her back.
Was love unfair?
Friday, June 13, 2008
“… so what do you think?” he asked.
What did she think? She thought that she could drown in the rich texture of his voice. She thought that his voice could wreak havoc as it gently caressed her sensitive nerve endings, sending her into dizzying spirals of sensuous ecstasy. She thought she didn’t want him to stop talking. But, he had stopped talking, hadn’t he? There was a pause in their conversation and he was waiting for her to say something, wasn’t he?
What was he waiting for?
Oh yes, he was waiting to know what she thought of his thoughts on the new range of lip balms his company was about to launch. He was bouncing off ideas and she was supposed to give her reactions. She was reacting, all right, and how!
“Could you run that by me once again?” she asked determined to prolong this delightful assault on her aroused senses for as long as she could.
“Of course,” he said, willing to oblige.
“I was thinking chocolate brown,” he said, “ you know because chocolate is probably the one thing which makes you feel….ummm..nice! You know nice… from within…”
Yes, nice from within. Like the way his lips on hers made her feel. Every jarring nerve in her body came alive with the mere thought of the gentle pressure of his lips. If she closed her eyes she could taste the heady pleasure of his molten kisses. Adrenaline exciting… just like chocolate. Yes, chocolate brown for the lips…
“… or maybe pink strawberry,” he said unaware of the effect of his words on her. “ Lips are supposed to be invitingly pink… like tender strawberries…”
And mischievous, she thought. Yes, lips ought to be mischievous. Playful, teasing. She pictured his lips tipping upward in a seductive smile, as she tugged playfully on his pout. The zing added to the sweet sensation of pure delight, when he parted her lips to claim her mouth. Sweet, with a little zing… strawberry lips…
“Are you even listening to me?” he asked, a little exasperation making his voice even more husky.
Was she listening to him? Sigh! Men!
“Of course I am! I am just thinking about what you just said,” she was amazed at how calm she sounded despite the crazy state of her nerves.
“… ok… so what DO you think?”
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
He downed the last traces of his amber scotch and toasted the bartender with his empty glass. He really ought to stop drinking down. Four scotches down, he was already inviting the mother of all hangovers. Yet, as the bartender refilled his glass, he couldn’t stop himself from reaching out towards. He ran one long finger through the glistening condensation and then picked the glass up. He looked around himself.
It was the usual weekday crowd, sprinkled in between were small groups of celebrations. He liked these moments the best. The people didn’t crowd around you and blow smoke in your face, but they didn’t desert you completely either. His eyes parked on at the woman sitting on the couch beside the mirrored wall. She was looking back at him too. She smiled seductively at him and raised a silent toast in his direction. He returned her toast and then turned his back on her.
In the mirror behind the bartender, he could still see her. But all he could think of was black eyes. Almond shaped black eyes, fringed with thick long lashes; eyes which sparkled with laughter and misted with emotions. He was in love with her eyes. But then he was in love with the way she spoke too. The unnoticed lisp she tried so hard to cover? That was so adorable. She had sexy feet. The pink toe nails she wriggled to relieve stress? They turned him on in a way in which horny porn stars never could.
And yet he was here, alone in a bar drinking scotch after scotch, seeking traces of her existence in the burn of the liquid. His love undeclared, unclaimed, silent. Why didn’t he tell her about it?
He took a swig of his drink. He didn’t tell her because he had dreams, where she had constrictions. She had problems, to which he had no solutions. She had the strength, but he lacked the will to back it. She was trapped and he couldn’t slay the dragons to set her free. But he loved her. He loved her with a passion he couldn’t explain to himself. He hated himself for being such a coward. But if he was honest with himself, he wasn’t strong enough to carry both their burdens.
Maybe he was. Maybe he just never tried. Maybe he should try. He wiped the traces of liquid from around his lips and headed out of the bar. Maybe he should tell her tonight. Maybe she had all the answers. Maybe tonight would be his last maybe.
As the clear breeze of the cool night slapped some sobriety into him, he pulled his cell phone out. For a long moment he stared at it. He heaved in a deep sigh and dialed her number. The phone just kept on ringing. It seemed she would never pick up.
“Hello?” she said groggily. God! She sounded so hot when she was sleepy.
“Hey..” he managed.
“Umm.. is it me or is it really one in the morning?”
“Uhuh.. you been drinking?”
“Ok! Is this something important?”
“Is there something you want to say?”
“You called just like that?”
“ok do you want to hang up?”
“You want me to guess what you called for?”
“This is exasperating. Do u need a taxi home?”
“You know what? Guys normally call up in the middle of the night to make romantic proclamations. Are you in one of those moods?”
“You want to make a romantic proclamation?!!”
“Ok, who’s the girl?”
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
What was equally un-surprising, was that the not just me, but the entire colony of people, who are normally dead to each other after the fluorescents have stopped glowing, were awakened. It was a mass awakening. A generation was coming to life. Thanks to my Bitch.
She kept screaming to the night skies that a dog somewhere was yeowling. She asked the stars for answers. What was wrong with the dog? Was he hurt? Was he in pain? Was he just having a bad dream? Why wouldn’t one of the selfish humans take a look at him? Where was he? She asked the winds and sniffed their mists for traces of this yeowling dog. Not for one minute did she stop shouting her concerns.
My cute next building neighbour, whose balcony peeps over mine, who never so much as notices me, was moved by the calls of my Bitch. He came to the balcony, looking so much more cute with his hair all messed up, to converse with me. The first words that he ever spoke to me and which shall go down in memory as my first interaction with him were
“Shut the bitch up!”
How romantic! With the moon gazing down on the two of us, he in his white pyjama and me in my pink snoopy dog night shirt, gazing at each other over those first words. Had the phone not disturbed us by its shrill peal…
The neighbour downstairs was calling. I hadn’t even noticed she had my neighbour. Thanks to my Bitch I now knew she had my number and my caller Id had displayed hers. She , like so many others, was thoroughly perturbed by the strong proclamations of my bitch.
“Its way past midnight!” she screamed. I was moved by how anguished she was. “ Silence the Bitch or I will!” She continued. It was our first neighbourly conversation since I moved in and I did not want to terminate it abruptly, so I naturally uttered all the assurances I could think of, all along my Bitch protested without a pause in the background. Perhaps, she intended on adding levity to my assurances.
The increasing number of phone calls from dog owners; whose dogs, inspired by the protests of my bitch, had joined in to raise their voices together with hers as one, finally pleaded with me to request my bitch to withdraw, temporarily, her protest.
So I did. I brought her inside and after treating her exhausted senses to a midnight snack ( which she deserved for uniting everybody for a common cause), I sat down beside her as she rested her tired senses. I kept guard while she slept, so that she may renew in the morning with renewed enthusiasm.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
RS: The ususal
KT: So .. what u been upto…
RS: Pretty much d usual
KT : Its Saturday nite dude.. wots d big idea?
RS : That tomorrow is Sunny Day?!
KT : Yeah! And I am so funny that when I laff jack-rabbits forget all about reproduction
RS : Huh?Wat?
KT : Never mind
RS : No no you were toking reproduction…?
KT : Yeah! Between jack rabbits!
RS : Wot about jack-asses?
KT : Rabbits duffer not asses..
RS : So you know nothing about reproduction between jack-asses?
KT : Y wud u want 2 know?
RS : coz you often call me a jack-ass :p
KT : Is dis one of
RS : I am not attempting babe, I AM flirting
KT : duh! Thanks for pointing out..
The Break again
KT : If you ARE flirting wid me… then y d silence
RS : ah. So u like it wen dis man flirt’s wid u
KT : I did not say dat!
RS : But u did mis me flirting wid u
KT : I did not say dat either!
RS : So wat did u say
KT : dat u suck at flirting
RS : u want me 2 improvise?
KT : are u capable?
KT : u are chatting wid me 2 kill time!
RS : hullo! U r d one who started dis!
KT : oh! So u don’t wanna be here wid me
RS : I wud rather be somewhere else
KT : That is obnoxiously rude!
KT : If u wud rather be somewhere else y chat wid me
RS : Oh I meant I wud rather be somewhere else wid u
KT : like where?
RS : hehehehe
KT : dat does not answer my question
RS : I do not answer trick questions
KT : How is dis a trick question?
RS : If I say your bedroom u’ll call me a perv, if I say timbaktu u’ll say dat d place does not exist , if I say paris u’ll call it clichéd, if I say rome its not romantic enuff.. whats a guy to say..
KT : Something like.. I’d rather be there right beside you?
KT signed out
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Ahuh Ahuh (Good girl gone bad)
Ahuh Ahuh (Take three... Action)
She wakes up with a start! Looks around completely at odds with the world. Looks left, then right, then shakes her head. As cobwebs of dreams melt into dusts of a sprinkling dawn, realization sinks in. It is her ringtone! Her mobile has to be somewhere around. She pats the sides of her fluffed up pillow as the song continues to beat into the streaming golden rays pouring in effortlessly through the windowless curtains. She picks the pillow up and sure enough, there is her mobile phone, blinking black and blue as it threatens to die out on the glaring melody.
She quickly grabs it and hits the tiny green button. “Hello?” she croaks into the phone, as she plops her head back onto the pillow.
“You are still in bed?” Her mother gasps. When is she going to learn that no soul other than her mother is going to be calling her at six in the morning?
“Was ma… was…” she says throwing the covers away and shaking herself up. As her feet hit the cold floor, her mothers words slap her awake.
“I am coming to visit you the day after.” Her mom announces.
The day after is Saturday. Saturdays are meant for lazy parties and weekends without parental guidance.
“Why?” she blurts out before she can stop herself.
“What do you mean by why?” Her mother asks faking offence. Without quite waiting for her to answer her mom plunges into excruciating details about the whys and hows of this proposed trip. Most of which escapes her as she hears beeps announcing another call waiting to be answered. She holds the phone away from her ear and peers at the screen. Its her boyfriend! Whats he doing calling her at six fifteen in the morning?
“Ma I got to call you back..”
“Why?? Do you need to go to the loo or something?” Her mother will never treat her a year older than eight. Which she was almost two decades ago. Nevertheless her mother hangs up and she hurries to call her boyfriend up.
“Hey sweetheart, sorry that was ma on the other line…”
“Yeah! And I thought you were busy with your other guy!” He laughs. She detects a hint of insecurity behind this mask. But says nothing.
“So, what happened?”
“What do you mean ‘ what happened?’ cant I call you without something happening? Like for no reason at all?” He quips mildly irritated. She groans inwardly and wants to scream that it was six twenty in the morning and her senses were not up to handling the onslaught. But she just gives an embarrassed laugh.
Her boyfriend attempts to say something, when the phone beeps to announce another call on waiting. She sighs and takes another peep. It had to be her father. The dilemma of a lifetime - to take the call or to not take the call right now. She does not think the male species ever grasped how difficult it is for a woman to prioritize between her boyfriend and father.
Before she can make her decision, her father has hung up on her and her boyfriend is complaining, “You haven’t heard a word of what I said, have you?”
“Umm… yeah.. actually.. its just.. that.. I.. err.. need to go to the loo!!” Mom to the rescue! She does not quite know why she lied. Her boyfriend laughs and makes some wayward comment of how adorably girly it is of her to get embarrassed about such everyday stuff. But thankfully he hangs up.
A quick dial to her father.
“Who calls you at six thirty in the morning?” he bellows, though quite not intending to.
“You?” she replies hesitantly.
“Other than you. I know it was not your mother.” He clarifies.
Should she tell him the truth? This was all so very confusing. She is about to say something when she actually feels the need to go the loo. She smiles at not having to lie.
“Dad, can I call you back? I need to go to the loo..”
“Don’t you use that excuse with me. You have been giving me that line since you were eight…”
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
The room was still alive with him. His scent lingered on the snowy pillows. She rubbed her nose breathing in lung-full of his existence. Like a stray shower he had come, stayed a while and gone. She did not know when he would return again. She would just wait in luxurious patience awaiting that phone call, which would intimate her of his arrival. She settled in deeper on the soft mattress willing the world to ignore her just for that moment longer. In that moment she met him all over again.
‘Do you work here?’ he asked as she helped him out of his coat. She smiled regally and bowed her head in acknowledgement. She stood at a respectable distance as his business partner was being made comfortable by yet another stewardess. He didn’t look at her, but he could still see her. Somehow she did not belong here. It was not the colour of her skin or anything as such. It was her bearing. She stood tall and proud, with a slight hint of haughtiness, her black eyes tinged with the silent humour which the royal family reserve for meaningless social occasions. She looked more like she owned the place, yet she was dressed as a stewardess. She disturbed him.
All throughout dinner, his mind kept straying towards her. He admired the straightness of her back, the rigidity of her spine, the way in which she spoke softly but surely. The all time rich and horny party also treated her with a difference. When they passed a cheap joke she just looked down her elegant nose and smiled. It was a smile which could freeze desert rains in the midst of summers. Conversation dwindled to gulps. She was like a princess who had forgotten she belonged to some faraway kingdom.
“You are happily married buddy,” his business partner reminded him with wicked glee. He just gave an uncomfortable laugh and proceeded to conclude the dinner. But she stayed with him long into the wee hours of the night. He couldn’t get her off his mind. He felt haunted by this princess from nowhere. He looked towards the other end of the bed. His wife was already filling the distance in their loveless marriage with downy cushions. But he had been loyal to her. Twenty years of loyalty to a marriage which had reaped neither satisfaction nor joy, but he had done it. But somehow tonight as he thought of the princess, the emptiness of his marriage felt like a noose around his neck. Not tight enough to choke him, but heavy on his shoulders, reminding him of a fatal end.
The morning was gray and rainy. He stood in the foyer of his elegant office awaiting the arrival of business minded associates who would wake this space up to greet a corporate world. He was staring quite aimlessly outside the glass door when he saw her again. She was dressed in the same clothes as last night. She had hurried under the shelter of the canopy outside his door to wait the rain out.
The winds blew torrents of rain towards her, the canopy a useless barrier against this horizontal onslaught. She turned slightly allowing the side of her body to bear the brunt of the drench, shielding her face with the width of her elegant palms. The blowing winds moulded her skirt to her thighs, highlighting the length of her slender long legs. The white blouse, now wet from the rain, did little to disguise the outlines of her lacey bra as they pushed through the thin cotton barriers. She must be getting wet, he thought. The picture his mind conjured of water from her soaking skirts running down the length of her legs made him almost groan out loud in the agony of submerged lust. Not quite knowing why, he had invited her in…
He had a wife. She could not be his wife. She was not sure he even loved her. But in the throes of passion, when their bodies met and he seemed to crave for more, even heavens would not be able to convince her that they were not meant to be.
He stood at the door watching her snuggle further into a comfortable position. The swell of her naked breasts evident under the thin satin of the sheet. She was lying lustrously naked beneath it. She was his. This princess from nowhere. It gave him a sense of power which defied logic. Yet, it humbled him to be owned in return. Ironical that the woman he had come to love, should be called his mistress and the woman towards whom he felt nothing other than a sense of financial responsibility should be called his wife.
Monday, June 2, 2008
She looked at her watch once again, not because she really needed to check what time it was, but because it made her look like she was waiting for someone. She was waiting for someone, but that someone would not be here at least for the next fifteen minutes. So she was very much on her own, sipping coffee which she otherwise gulped. She cringed her eyes in an effort to focus on the thoughts zinging inside her mind. What was it with pretences and relationships? Everybody seemed to say the two never mixed, yet one rested in the shadows of the others. Like Di and her.
They were the best of friends, ever ready to share a laugh and trade some gossip. But lately she found herself avoiding Di’s calls, making excuses to not call her back. She very well knew the reason for that. As of late Di had transformed into a watering pot of sorts. All she could talk about was being the victim of her boyfriend’s insensitivity, her boss’s cruelty or the partiality of the circumstances. Everybody needs to vent out frustrations, she could understand that. But Di had been at it for months. Like showers in the equatorial region, perennially there, with no signs of a change of weather either in the near or the not-so-near future.
In the beginning she had sympathized. There were the right ‘Oh poor you,” and “How could he?”. Then came the phase of active involvement, where she had tried to advocate Di’s side with the boyfriend. But she began to realize that the problem was not the boyfriend, it was Di. Di didn’t want to be with him anymore, but she couldn’t bring herself to call it off. She was doing what the conventional books advise every woman on- the –brink- of -break -off to do. She was making him leave her. But she had to be the victim too, she couldn’t be the ‘bitch who called it off’, she had to be the ‘poor girl who got dumped’. So Di had resorted to pretense. Di pretended that her boyfriend was the evil man behind the handsome mask. Which was ok. What was not ok was Di put a pretense even with her; her supposed best friend.
On numerous conversations with Di, she had wanted to put her hands on ears and scream STOP. But instead she had just listened on. She had wanted to tell Di exactly what she thought, that enough was enough and she had to snap out! But she had just stayed mum, neither sympathizing nor suggestion, just listening on. Why couldn’t she get herself to do it? To tell Di in those excruciating words that she was getting too carried away with her pretense? It would be painful yes. But then getting any infected bit out of the system always was.
What did really stop her? It was a fear that Di might never turn around and talk to her. That suddenly one fine day she would find herself quite alone. Insecurities, she realized, often bind us closer and tighter in a relation, than securities ever would.