Friday, April 10, 2009

Excerpts from Knots and No Crosses

Chapter 4 : Flowers and More

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...As he stood at the florist, eyeing the array of bright flowers, his confusion multiplied. Out of habit, he headed towards the crimson roses. Almost all the women in his life, who had mostly been single, had invariably been flattered when he had presented them with a bouquet of red roses interspersed with a sprinkling of white nameless dots of flowers. They could not stop gushing over the thoughtfulness behind the gesture and always felt a little overwhelmed by this romantic streak in him.

The old lady who owned the store recognised him and stooped to arrange the bouquet he had favoured all along.

“Nein, Danke!” he stopped her with his no thanks.

“Nicht diesesmal!”

Not this time.

He remembered a long discussion he had with Max about a year ago, when he had just met Nati. They had been discussing why red roses were considered as a gesture of undying love or a tribute to romance. Both of them were convinced that it had to do with the colour red, which signified a burning desire or passion or the thrill of an adventure which brings along with it, a sense of danger. It had however nothing to do with the rose itself. They were convinced that there were flowers prettier than the rose, flocking the florists these days. But it had to be red roses, because Shakespeare or Napoleon Bonaparte had created historical romances using a red rose. So for the joy of a romance rich with history, girls still craved red roses, hoping their mere presence, would add a touch of mystical magic to their very urban romances.

After discussing at length and establishing the unshakeable position of red roses as the symbol of romance, it would be churlish to present them to his wife. He was positive, Nati being herself, would swoon over the flowers, but he did not want to offend Max, who would be doing a mental revision of the very same discussion, which had just crossed Akkie’s mind.

Roses were definitely out.

So if not roses, then what? The Red Dahlias looked very pretty sitting there inviting to be picked. While they were not as romantic as the roses, they were also not as expensive. He was visiting them with a very expensive bottle of wine. He really could not team them up with not-so-expensive Dahlias! Though Max would never notice the difference, Nati would sure point it out to him in a post-dinner cosy conversation.

She would snuggle up to him and say, “I don’t know, I don’t think Akkie really has good taste in flowers! Or maybe he was just trying to balance out his pockets!” And she would giggle as if it did not matter.

Akkie could still live with the knowledge that Nati thought he had no sense with flowers, but he could not live thinking that she had classified him as some stingy Indian.

Dahlias wouldn’t do.

He once again included Roses in his thoughts. Maybe Red Roses were out, but he could see a sprinkling of beautiful pink roses. He also noticed that two people had walked in after him, given him curious looks as he stood there eyeing the flowers, made their decisions, had their flowers wrapped and walked out. What did pink roses signify?

Nothing.

Of course, he could make up a million things right there on the spot. But how would he explain them to Nati or Max? And in the absence of his explanations, pink roses looked like a thoughtless act. Like something he picked in a rush to get to their place and hadn’t paused to give much thought to. And he didn’t want to offend the new bride with a thoughtless gift.

Pink roses were out.

He put his hands on his hips and exhaled loudly, causing some of the blossoms closer to him to stir in their long vases. He looked around seeking help, not knowing who would actually be able to help him with this dilemma.

“Need help?” she asked

He turned around to face a complete stranger. Her rosy complexion complemented her jet black eyes, highlighting her Indian origins. Her hair was slightly wind blown and hung in careless curls around her shoulders. She was smiling at him, an open smile which said she genuinely wanted to help.

He glanced quickly at his watch, he didn’t want to be late for dinner, Max was very keen on punctuality. But he didn’t want to miss out on a chance with a conversation with this seemingly beautiful Indian in the strange city of Munich.

“Getting late?” she enquired still with a smile, noting his gesture.

“I need to pick flowers for a two-week-old bride. A good friend’s wife actually,” he said welcoming both her conversation and her help.

“Ah! And red roses are too romantic, yellow a little confused, pink insignificant, dahlias and gerberas look inexpensive, carnations don’t quite make the mark…” she paused in her speech, cocked her head and looked at him, “How am I doing so far?”

He laughed. Not because he was expected to, but because she really made him laugh.

“I am not sure I know so many flowers,” he confessed, “But you are spot on, on the confusion bit of it.”

She walked him to a section of the store and began plucking some flowers from the vase and grouping them together.

“Pick orchids,” she suggested, “They are beautiful. They are a sign of respect. They say I admire you because you stand out from the rest, just like me. They say I know you are tough, just like me. They say you don’t deserve a mere rose or a lily or something fancy, you deserve something more, something which shows a strength of character. You deserve me.”

She stopped and handed him a very elegant bouquet of blue orchids, laced with a spattering of green and yellow tiny flowers. They did look beautiful. He was mesmerised. He looked from the flowers to her; she was looking at him with an expectant smile.

“They are perfect!” he exclaimed and walked to the counter to have them wrapped. She loitered near the counter, picking some perfectly white lilies and bright orange carnations.

“Do the orchids really signify all that?” He asked still enveloped by the magic of her words.

She laughed, “To me they do. Every flower speaks something to the woman you gift it to. So no matter which flower you pick, it all depends on the woman…”

She moved further away to gather some button roses to add to her collection. On an impulse he picked up a purple orchid from a vase nearby and paid for it. On his way out, he stopped by her side and tapped her shoulder.

Offering that single bulb of purple orchid to her, he said, “This one’s for you!”

5 comments:

Puneet said...

Woow!! A beautiful choice. It was lovely reading it.
And your playlist for the songs is also good. It was a pleasure listening to them.

oo7 said...

hai ram! kinna sweet tha...
i thought i was watching a romantic movie :D

comfortably numb said...

wow:)

AshenGlow said...

My My... A Purple Orchid...

Was considering whether to read it or not.. you know, its like spoiling the surprise myself.. :P
But then went for it...

Sounds like a neat plot.. and a sure read..

And i think i said il read it anyway!!!

Has it hit the book stores already or would i have to order an autographed copy thanks to my restlessness? Heheh..

Way to go!!
Ashen

sanely insane said...

nobody for tulips?

now i know they are not conventional but i think tulips are like pearls...classy in their beauty :)