Joined: 10 February 2009
Joined: 10 February 2009
She watched him with her characteristic earnestness and he could sense his resolve wavering. When no further reply was forthcoming, Brinda decided she had had enough. So she got up, and decided to walk away from him, and his life.
"Jab tum pehle office mein aayi thi, I didn't know what to do with myself."
Her feet stopped out of their own accord and she half turned, listening to him. His face was swathed in darkness and light, and he spoke on, in his low, deep voice.
"Tumne mujhe chauvinist kaha, and though it irked me, I found it funny. Jab hum Chambal mein gaye, tab mujhe pata chala ki ye sirf dosti nahi hain shayad. Aur jab tum rajasthan gayi, tab mujhe ehsaas hua, ki haan, main theek tha. Mere liye, ye sirf dosti nahi thi."
She bowed her head. He mirrored her sentiments, after all.
He walked upto her, and looking at her in the eyes, he said slowly, clearly. "Main tumse pyar karta hoon'par'"
She snorted derisively. "Par'Par kya?"
"Tum ye job pasand karti ho. Tumhar Mumbai mein ek jindagi hain, jo mein tumhe chodne ke liye keh nahi sakta. Isi liye, Brinda, isi mod par humari zindagiyan alag hone wali hain. Par main chahta hoon, ki tumhe pata ho, ki agar halat kuch aur hote, toh shayad humari zindagi alag hoti."
She smiled, her eyes watery. She wasn't going to cry. It had been accursed from the start. A guy with a slum upbringing, a girl with a sheltered Malabar Hills life. Him, with his street smarts and gun-happy attitude, and her, with an expensive college degree and polished English. Him, with his chauvinism and her, with the tendency to take even the most innocent responses as an affront.
And him, with a bribe charge over his head. And her, the officer who had arrested him.
It was never meant to be. But that hadn't meant that she wouldn't lose her heart to him. They had no future. In some other lifetime, perhaps.
It was time to clear the air, and come to closure. Her life awaited her. Her parents, her job, and'Vaibhav. She decided to try and forget him, and make a satisfactory, if not a happy life with Vaibhav. And he would do the same with some other girl.
"So, this is it?"
Weeks of tedious assignments, late night coffee and banter, encounters and interrogation and a frenzied quest to end Mumbai's biggest drug dealer's racket, it had come to a goodbye on the very streets their relation had begun.
She hugged him briefly and left with him their dreams and hopes that would never be. He reveled in her scent and the feel of her in hiss arms for a while, imprinting it on his memory and willing himself to let go.
He kissed her once, as a mark of the brief time, when she was his and he was hers, and so that she would remember it forever.
They disentangled, and turned, back to their lives and the long walk home.
Joined: 07 November 2009
Joined: 10 February 2009
Twenty eight years later
Brinda bent down, a final salute to the man who had shaped her career and been a life-long inspiration. Usmaan had finally departed – as a satisfied but a tired man. There was nothing more in Mumbai now. She had resigned from the job years ago, before the birth of her daughter, who had made a new life for herself in Australia. Vaibhav had tried to make their marriage work, but she had failed to, and they were no longer shackled to each other. He parents had died years ago and she had not bothered to remain in touch with her relatives and the co-workers. She liked her solitude.
She got up, when her eyes rested on a man across the room. It couldn't be.
"Mahen?" she said softly, walking up to him. His smile was devoid of the cockiness, but was still playful. "Brinda," he said simply.
It was almost ironic. It was Usmaan, due to whom they had met. And again, the man had been the reason for their meeting, after all these years. They took their leave and walked down the road out of habit.
"How are you?" He asked, gently.
She just shrugged. "I'm fine. It's good to see you."
"It's good to see you too. It's been what, twenty-"
"Twenty eight years."
"Did you…do you…have children?"
She smiled. "A daughter."
She turned to him. "Aaj bhi personal questions na puchne ki tameez nahi hain tum me Mahen!"
He laughed. "Apnon se kya chupana Brinda?"
She had to smile at that. "Divorced. It's been almost thirteen years."
He looked pained. "I…didn't get married."
She looked away. It was too painful to talk about the past that could have been.
But there was no restriction on the future, was there?
"Would you like to have a cup of coffee with me?"
Joined: 12 May 2009
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