Sunny With An Occasional Chance of Rainfall!

Dancing in the rain….

Image courtesy: I’m Falling Into Memories Wall by `smashmethod on deviantART

“Most things are forgotten over time. Even the war itself, the life-and-death struggle people went through is now like something from the distant past. We’re so caught up in our everyday lives that events of the past are no longer in orbit around our minds. There are just too many things we have to think about everyday, too many new things we have to learn. But still, no matter how much time passes, no matter what takes place in the interim, there are some things we can never assign to oblivion, memories we can never rub away. They remain with us forever, like a touchstone.” ― Haruki Murakami

Not really living,I was busily walking around my life. Rearranging happy anecdotes, dusting away the strife. (Should I have visitors), I wanted it to appear perfect! And along the way earn myself a few stars I expect.

So I existed but secretly waited, for life to come by. Instead came the seasons. Yet, life was too shy. My impatience grew at being passed over “I just want to live!”, said I in a petulant manner. A knock on the door and taps on the pane, Love beckoned me to dance in the rain. I couldn’t deny the outstretched arm, so I followed his lead, unsure at first. It conquered my soul and fulfilled me such – an eternal spring to quench my thirst.

The day is long gone but the memory has stayed. Like a lodestone it sets course when my priorities are swayed. If ever rendered immobile with arthritic feet,this will be my refuge, my nostalgic retreat. A safe haven to escape the pain, and surrender to the memory of dancing in the rain….

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And then I go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like “I love you”

No, this is not related to the song by RW. This is more to do with my ruminations over a recent experience.  Thanks to the wide reach of social networking I happened to get in touch with a girl I’d been to kindergarten with. That was over twenty years ago and even then we were not on such pally terms so as to swear life-long friendship. Therefore, the friend request received one fine morning was almost destined to be declined. Yet the fingers lingered, something stirred deep within, the mind pondered (you get the picture) and about ten minutes later, the request accepted. That she lived in the vicinity was an added incentive.

After a few days of hanging out online we decided to meet for coffee. “It would be fun to catch up and share memories of old times”, she added cheerfully. Er…”Houston we have a problem”, thought yours truly. The nervousness was justifiable since the extent of my shared past with her spanned learning the alphabets and Itsy Bitsy spider. We had gone to different schools and cities thereafter. In a moment of crisis this is how I imagined the meeting would go. Let’s call this new friend J to maintain anonymity.

Me- Hey! long time… How have you been?

J- Yeah I know! [Gives short description of life thus far]. What’s up with you?

Me- Oh nothing much [ volunteer an even shorter description of life thus far, I am tongue-tied that way]

J and I order our coffees. In a moment of optimism I super-size my Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino. Orders arrive and we settle into comfortable conversation.

J- Hey do you remember those days when Miss T. taught us the alphabets? It took me so long to sing L-M-N-O-P-Q the right way!

Me (smiling)- yes me too! I would always end up singing Elo-Melo-P-Q!!

J (all excited) – And, and do you remember the Itsy Bitsy spider?

Me- Yes, remember how Miss T. taught us the dance along with it and we performed on Annual day?

J- Umm no, I wasn’t part of it.

Me- Oh

J- Hey but the “Go-as-you-like” competition was great too! I was dressed as a pirate? What were you?

Me- Er, I wasn’t part of that competition.

This is that awkward moment when you have run out of things to say and your coffee can’t end soon enough!

Thankfully the actual experience wasn’t quite so horrific, in fact far from it. Though shared memories didn’t go beyond the aforementioned arachnid we did find plenty of other stuff to talk about. Soon it was time to leave. We made further plans of catching up and I was happy at the thought of having enjoyable company and who knows potential friendship too.

This is when she killed my thought bubble. How? Her exact words were ” See you, take care! I love you!” This is when my smile froze. What was I to say? That I loved her too? But I couldn’t right? Because I don’t! I have only just met her. Isn’t love reserved for people you really love and when you say it to them you mean it from deep within your heart? Is it really to be tossed around superficially or maybe confused with like? I don’t know. I changed school remember? Maybe I missed the memo.In the end I could only say “See you” and walk away hoping she did not notice the time lapse between her comment and my response.

What do you think? Has this happened to you too?

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A secret

It’s a summer day in Kolkata. The weather is sultry and the sun blazes mightily. Inside the 11th grade classroom, the teacher tries to hammer in the implications of simple harmonic motion to a set of indifferent students that are surreptitiously stealing glances at the clock. It is the last period of the day and cannot end soon enough. A girl passes a note to the boy on the next bench. The boy reads and then pledges complicity. The bell rings. Students rush out to crowd around the ice-cream seller. The boy and the girl do not join them. They have their own plans and proceed accordingly.

They leave separately. The girl arrives early and waits at the agreed place for rendezvous. It’s the dilapidated compound of the erstwhile police quarters. Usually deserted during the day but rumoured to be the haven of shady activities by night. The girl feels a little uncomfortable and hopes that the boy would hurry. The boy in the meanwhile, takes a circuitous route to avoid detection and the ensuing questions from nosy neighbours, or worse, being dragged home by his strict elder brother. After what seems like ages, the boy arrives. The girl is a little miffed at having to wait but decides to forgive seeing him breathless and soaked in sweat. They look around to double check if there are any known faces around. There aren’t. Satisfied, they hold hands and smile; eyes shining with the knowledge of guilty pleasure they are about to partake.

A little ahead a man waits for them, same place, same time, as always. The boy pays him. The man nods and then sets to task. The girl watches the man in giddy anticipation while the boy watches her intently. He shouldn’t encourage this habit which has become an addiction, he muses. But they are young and in love! Moral scruples at that age are easily overcome with the desire to see your dear one happy.

At last the man is done and hands over the two paper packets to the loyal customers. The girl takes a small bite, closing her eyes in pleasure, she rolls the first morsel inside her mouth, feeling the potato, tamarind chutney, and green chilies  come together in perfect harmony. She is oblivious to the rest of the world. This moment, this bite, is her one addiction, her one escape. She suffers from a medical condition and has been under a strict antibiotic regime for the whole of last year. The onslaught of bitter medicines have blunted her taste buds and the only thing she craves for is denied to her. She had entreated, pleaded, begged even till the boy had agreed. This rupee 1 worth of aloo chaat after school was their one little secret. Did the seller know how much it meant to those two young people? Maybe he did, maybe he did not.

The remnants are polished off quickly, a bottle of water guzzled down to wash off traces and the girl runs off to take an auto rickshaw home. She basks in the after taste. She thinks about him. Feeling secure that she can trust him she loves him even more. The boy watches till the auto fades out of sight and makes his journey home, caught up  in his own thoughts…

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In case you are wondering what made the girl drool, here is a recipe of the aloo chaat. Bon apatite!

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