Joined: 01 July 2010
Joined: 25 February 2010
Joined: 25 February 2010
Joined: 28 October 2010
If she could speak, she would have urged you to dance in the rain too, like she told Irene
Joined: 28 October 2010
Joined: 28 October 2010
The sun was out again, albeit subdued by golden mists. I yearned to find a brightened spot in the greener grass on the other side, and lay there, watching the rust-coloured leaves spiral aimlessly about me. Oddly enough, while others might have been reminded of the persistence with which the insensitively serene winter was approaching, I could only find the season passionately endearing. It had that saturated beauty of life just before death, that urgent kind of vivacity. Autumn had to be the most pensive, self-aware of seasons. And to me, it even seemed to ring as the least insincere. Paradoxically so.
It was also the most apt season for long, solitary walks - something which I could only wistfully sigh about, since I was, of course, down with flu. Mummy had called the previous night and had immediately heard through my cheery assurances that I was well. It had felt dismal enough to be missing home, without the additional worry that my parents were now powerlessly worrying about me, so many miles away.
But it meant, naturally, that my two aunties in the country (the naturally decreed and the popularly elected) had been promptly notified of my ailment, and they had dropped in with food and customary health-themed adages to fret over me, in a way that, to my feverish mind then, felt almost similar to the way mummy would have, had I been back home then.
Theirs was not the only unexpected visit I was to receive. Late in the evening, I heard another knock on the door, this one soft, almost tentative. I groggily unravelled myself from the covers, to find Kabir standing in the chilly corridor. His smile had an odd tinge of sadness to it. Or maybe not. Kabir was one of those people who defied decidedness.
"What are you doing here?" I asked, letting him in. It was only then that I was able to appreciate fully the changes that the other day's rain dance had brought with it - other than the runny nose, that is. Those raindrops I had embraced had somehow washed away all the resentment that I was not aware I still held. Now, I was merely curious.
"Irene said that you were not well," he replied simply. The statement was clearly intended to be self-explanatory.
It felt slightly odd, still, to hear him say Irene's name. But I said nothing of that, and nothing of the fact that Irene herself had not come to visit. Kabir and I had been an odd match from the start. He was one who gave very little of himself away, and I just did not think it proper to probe further into what other people had so firmly chosen not to share, being averse myself to the idea of being scrutinised.
"Oh, it's a minor flu. I'm sure I'll be fine in no time."
"Yes, and then you'd be able to go dance in the rain again," he rebuked gently, pulling out a box of chocolates from his bag, and placing it discreetly, wordlessly on the bed.
I could just smile, silenced by the confusion I felt, of not knowing what I felt. But then again, even if I could know, what would I have said? When I knew words to be inherently inadequate, limited to logic and reason as they were, as vehicles to convey feelings that so stubbornly transcended rationality...
Perhaps he too felt strangled by the same helplessness. I wished I could decipher through his eyes, that which perhaps lay beyond the few words we exchanged, but those dark distant irises of his remained as inscrutable as ever. I only saw the concern he felt at my being ill then, but no explanation as to why that same concern had been so glaringly absent previously.
"Where are you lost?" he asked.
"Nowhere. Um, thanks for the chocolate. Ferraro Rocher is my favourite, you know?"
"I know," he replied.
And in that split second, I knew I had sensed something almost like pain emanating from him. It seemed to throb in the air still, long after he had smiled it away. He remembered. He had never forgotten. Maybe he even understood how I felt, had felt, far better than Irene could.
After he had left, it dawned upon me that he, and maybe several other people too, were not necessarily multi-faced as I had dismissively assumed, perhaps only to protect myself. Maybe it was merely a case of being multi-faceted - of which, surely, most human beings, if not all, were guilty.
And somehow, just then, I found that there seemed to be no reason anymore to find reasons behind what had already transpired. Somehow, it seemed more compelling to give a chance to that which I understood of him, the inherent goodness that had drawn me to him in the first place, and to recognise that the hurt he had once caused had resulted from a temporary, involuntary lapse of judgment, that he now regretted. This realisation, it seemed to me, I owed to what I had lost and found during my crazy rain dance. And perhaps a special mention was due to Ferraro Rocher too.
Gradually, we became friends him again, although, admittedly, not exactly in the same way we were during the times I felt I had now outgrown. I still liked him, but consciously attempted to root my feelings firmly to the plane of reality we lived in, the matter-of-fact one where reasons overpowered emotions, where there were no princes and princesses, just normal, mostly fallible people. It was hopelessly boring, unmagical, but at least I no longer stood to have my heart broken.
When he needed a place to stay for a week while he waited for his hostel to open, just before the beginning of our second academic year, I allowed him to stay in the extra room of the flat that I was then renting. It had been a week of utmost pandemonium, which we had spent playing pranks on each other and fighting over ice-cream, the television remote, the bathroom, and pretty much anything that could be legitimately fought about - much to my flatmate's despair. The memory of those days still makes me smile, because it was perhaps the first time when he had, uninhibitedly, allowed me more than just a fleeting look of who he truly was. A monkey, that is.
Then, when a semester later, he invited me to go to the Indian Students Society prom with him, after initially turning him down for some unfathomable reason, I agreed to be his date. Of course, his invitation had had to be only a few hours before the prom started, so those few hours had been spent in madly scrambling about for tickets. Once we had those tickets, miraculously, we only had half an hour to find something to wear and get dressed.
I asked him, as we were waiting for the bus to leave, softly, so our friends would not hear, why he had only invited me at the very last minute.
"I'd been wanting to for some time, but I was scared you'd say no."
"And I actually did say no, hey?" I laughed.
"Yes," he chuckled, "But you see, the advantage of asking you when I did, was that you ended up feeling sorry for me because I wouldn't be able to find anybody else at the last minute. And you said yes."
"Smart boy! But if you'd asked me earlier, and I'd said no, you would have still been able to ask somebody else out. Ever thought of that?"
"If you had said no, I wouldn't have gone." That flicker of mirth had left his eyes.
"But you have other friends you could have asked, that would have been dateless then. Irene -"
"I really wanted to go with you."
I had found it hard that day not to feel like a princess, not to dream of new beginnings, this time, I liked to believe, in a somewhat less naive manner. But just a few months later, when I went back to university for my third year, he had already left for London, where his family had settled, and where he would now continue his studies. And he was never to come back again.
It had pained me, because his departure had come at a time when he had begun to open up, to subconsciously question the so-called need to hide behind hollow, unfelt platitudes. And I waited, unsure of what it was that I was waiting for.
It is only now that I understand, that I know.
Joined: 06 December 2007
Joined: 11 January 2008
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