Friday, August 28, 2009
It was the last cigarette of the packet. It’s funny how the last cigarette suddenly feels so costly as if compensating for the rest 9 of the burned ashes, he thought. His fingers now had a distinct smell of nicotine and sweat accumulated over the years.
For Animesh the lanes of Esplanade was a respite, the crowd seems to live his lost happiness on his behalf. The relentless clatter kept his mind calm, it was his own thoughts he feared the most.
He edged towards thirty but looked a lot older. Pollution he blamed. But somewhere down the rat race it was life that cheated him. Dreams were traded for reality. Promises he made to himself were long broken. A low paying job that took care of his addiction was enough for him. His eyes had the darkness of a dying person reminiscing.
His most evenings were spent in those dingy old bookstores in the back lanes surfing through sleazy crime novels. He hoped he may someday find his own story printed somewhere there. But it was too dark in there for him to find.
He walked slowly trying to make circles of smoke with his mouth. Then suddenly, a glimpse. He stopped and scanned the crowd again. Maybe he was imagining things.
Then she saw her, on New Market junction. She was still the same; bruises of life seemed to have escaped her. He was about to call her but his voice failed. The past came rushing to fill the vacuum
Sitting in some un-named park in central Calcutta.
'Promise me we will always stay together’, Trina said.
'We will' It was her innocent rhetorical questions that still amused him 3 years after he met her.
He could see his future. He believed in himself.
By thirty a nice apartment in South Calcutta, those which have a park for kids to play. A happy job in one of those promising high rises coming up in his city.
After all he is an engineer, who could resist him.
And then there was Trina. All he could ever want. She always looks so pretty in blue and she knew that too.
Love is the warmth of her cheek on his shoulder. Love is her long soft fingers that so tightly gripped his hand, that sometime hurts but he wouldn’t admit. Love is that unknown perfume that she never disclosed she used. She is love.
'Do you love me?' she asked
'Yaaa' he said slightly irritated, those useless questions of her bothered him. It was 4 years of their relationship.
This was a great opportunity for him. Working at the head office in Mumbai. After all that’s where he could make all contacts that can accelerate his promotion.
'In India opportunities means compromise' his father used to say.
And he wasn’t leaving for good. Within 2 years he will be back with her and with a better life. Why can’t she understand?
'Maybe we should break-up' Trina said on phone
'Maybe we should' he replied.
They haven’t met for over a year. Sometimes it was hard to recall her face. Shopper’s Stop dint kept her perfume.
He couldn't believe that she can leave him. His ego was hurt. He knew he could stop her from abandoning him, but why should he?
It wasn’t his fault; all he wanted is his career to shine enough to light both of their lives. Is that a crime?
Trina stopped calling long ago. But she took something from him. He still could not figure out what. But it hurts.
Mumbai is so lonely. Every Sunday lots of family comes to crowded Juhu Beach to make sand castles. There happiness mocked him now.
She is also sad, he tries to reason himself. Hah!! Whom am I kidding?
They said he had lost the edge; they have to let him go. He smirked.
He had nothing to pack. Mumbai was never his home. It was just a stop-over.
All he was worried about how he is going to spend 30 hours in train without smoking. Smoking Kills!!!
He followed her through the crowd of Esplanade. She looks happy he thought satisfyingly. Maybe she is happily married now.
A pang of jealousy shot thorough him quickly subsided by a feeling of fulfilment. He loved her so much he realised.
He thought if he should call her name, but den he saw the cigarette butt in his fingers. He had changed a lot, for worse.
He would just get her sympathy now, he didn’t deserved love anymore.
Love is her unmanaged hair through which she runs her fingers.
She was suddenly lost in crowd. But this time he did not tried to find her. He quietly turned towards the approaching tram. Its slow pace was something he could relate to.
Trina suddenly stopped in front of that dimly lit store. A blue salwar kameej displayed caught her attention. She remembered the sparkle in eyes of Animesh whenever she wore blue.
Love was in his arms that once held her tight. Love was his eyes that used to stare her for hours. Love was his voice that filled her heart. He was love.
A Drop of Tear!!