She rests her chin on the knuckles of her right hand and looks at the road outside. There’s absolutely nothing to see. And the act isn’t called seeing but rather staring at nothing. She’s not looking at them, she’s looking past them. Somewhere beyond all the materialistic crap. A detached, dejected look.
There’s a certain picture of herself in her mind. She thinks that’s exactly the way she is looking at the moment. Head facing the window clearly indicating her mood. Wants to see no “Person” anymore. Maybe its hunger, maybe anger. Or maybe she’s just going nuts by the ongoing conversation between two guys standing nearby whose topic changes with the change of her actions.
They get on the bus and one says “Well, there’s a seat but it’s occupied.”
“Why don’t you empty it then?” the other laughs.
What’s funny in that? She thinks to herself.
She fiddles with her cell phone and they talk “Oh I never send sms these days. . . she keeps giving me missed calls in the middle of the night. Sarita, Reena…” names and some more names. Sick. If she could she would literally hurl the guys out of the window. But she doesn’t.
It’s just another of those mundane thoughts that come to her mind now and then but are never acted upon.
She’d left college feeling so ill that she could barely take five steps more. But she had to get to the bus stop. He found her just in time. They’d last met two and a half years ago. It was ten years that they had spent in the same school. “Can’t walk,” she can’t say. So she does it in spite of the pain. The brave girl after all…She’s better now.
Coffee? My treat.
She tells him. Bakery Café. Durbarmarg.
From spirituality to sex, he is just unstoppable. She’s just too good a listener. But the experience is different this time. He, Princi, the trip, MRP sir to bad boys… its’ easy talking. Feels so good to stumble into people who Know Who You Really Are, Who Know Where you’re from and everything that really matters to you. SCHOOL. Nostalgia. Sometimes her eyes feel moist, sometimes she’s laughing out too loud. So good to talk about HIM. They have a connection which binds them together for life. Feels just like its Yesterday once again.
He knows her thick dark rimmed spectacles. She knows his style of dozing off in class covering his eyes with a hander kerchief and wearing specs atop of that! He knows her strengths she knows his voice which set chills running down through everyone’s spines. They Know One another.
The yellow carnation on the table looks beautiful. Real? She tries to figure out. It’s real. Planning to give me one? He smiles.
Think you’re the centre of the universe or what? She replies.
Whose call? He asks.
Boyfriend. She’s laughing.
“You can’t have one!”
“Why do you doubt?”
“Hmm you’re not sexy. Second you don’t dress up to catch a guy’s attention..” he reveals.
“Ha, ha, ha” a bigger roar of laugher. They’re the only ones in the place.
“Such interesting analysis yaar” she is thoroughly enjoying the conversation.
“Doesn’t having good brains matter to anyone?” She asks with a twinkle in her eyes. Her cheeks are aching because of laughing too much.
“Does. But never trust a guy. Make it a mantra!” He answers.
“I never doubt an ounce of the statement.” She’s laughing again. “So how much of what you are telling me about everything is true then?” She catches him off guard.
“Oh you can trust me”.
“ Moro khub bato hune prayash gardo raicha!” She laughs.
“Yeh ho!” He’s at a loss of words. Coffee, chocolate, momo and chowmein. Three hours or so in the café. He’s gone. And she can’t believe she walked all that way and is still walking when she was feeling so ill in the morning! She was happy then. Lived the moment. But isn’t happy now. Feels like a Strange Day to her.
Beggars, street lights, the hero, the addict, the commercial sex workers and the customers-Traffic Signal. The story ends just as she begins to enjoy the movie. Hindi movies Suck. The Finding is always the same. But then why repeat the experiment again and again. She should have listened to her sister’s Favorite Film Critic. Will give…that one more chance she muses and heads home. A wasted existence.
On the bus again, and then on the highway. Finally nearing home. Load shedding. The streets are dark. But a million stars shine down at her. She stops at three different places on the road to look at them. Can’t figure out a single constellation as always.
Romance? The hell with the word. The lines still play repeatedly in her head:
“And it feels like I am living someone else’s life
Just like I stepped outside”
But nothing romantic about it at all. She’s just living those words. It feels so queer. A new semester but no enthusiasm. Feb 14: nothing but an irritation. “Maybe the ghost has left her soul.” It’s the only thought that makes her smile 🙂 tonight.
After all she is the making of her mind.
Everything Around Her Is The Making Of The Mind.