November 12, 2007 § 10 Comments
I think I may have made a tradition out of writing about my Diwali visits to home, year after year, as many as have been since I commenced with this blog. There’s something mysteriously interesting about this festival that makes me feel powerfully good for that little while: a strange sort of happiness that is to be derived in all the senseless and logical activity involved in celebrating Diwali. This might make me sound somewhat insane, but I like to believe that something randomly exciting happens with me practically every time, this part of the year. Or probably I’m just giving you a pretext on what you’re going to read later on.
I guess the only people who read me today are the ones who’ve honored me with their committal presence for at least a year, or a half, and henceforth decided to stick with my moody publishing for I’m-glad-to-not-know what reasons. Yes, I’m apparently thanking you all. And that’s all for the season’s greetings. I’m sorry for my inability to false praise you all for the time and effort you take out and make respectively, to visit here pretty frequently. Because the truth is I reciprocate your exertion by ensuring I read all your posts with an acceptable time delay of a few days may be. Don’t judge me by the comments I do not leave, as that would mean I’m automatically invited to revisit the concerned post often to read your comments on mine: and honestly, I’m sort of low on man hours these days, online or otherwise.
Anyway, the point of the whole finely expounded last paragraph was that I assume some familiarity on your part of my childhood and growing up. I’m mainly talking about how the Indian Railways are so intimately attached to my kid and teenage and now adult days.
So clearly we’ve now narrowed down to the train journey I took to home for Diwali last week. And the dreamer that I am, I do think of meeting extraordinarily interesting people, by which I mean chiefly women on such travels. More often than not, I end up sleeping 70% of the time thanks to absence of remotely talkative (men) or attractive (women) folks in the limit of my civil reachability. But this time was not to be that sorry. And why? Because, it was Diwali. Auspicious is the keyword here.
For the first hour, I was to have no company at all in an arrangement of cushioned chairs that begged three to be seated. I think that actually is better than having someone dumb and blind to your presence as a fellow seat-man. And then the loneliness bubble burst. Presently enters a young lady in a short red top that I later thought could take some washing, denims and fancy chappals (the kind women must wear when they know they have displayable feet). The next moment I caught her standing on the cushion chair next to me, and holding one huge bag over her head to carefully place it next in the overhead luggage orbit. I could have went on thinking how strong she must be, had I not noticed a little bit of her belly button skin exposed thanks to the major stretchy physical activity she was involved with. I admired her swift movements, and I could have done that more of that again had she in her swiftness not swung around me and left me lost in that noticeable fragrance of hers. I think life was working digitally during those few minutes. Because the next I saw was of a post middle-age man, her father, occupying the chair between me and the dirty red top girl. This sort of thing is always discouraging, because I know I do not have that evil look on my face that shall prompt fathers to shield their daughters from my gaze! Anyway, when I thought honeymoon was over for me, I next observed her virtually directing her Pa to let her in his place. I could have judged her that very moment, but my manly wisdom got the better of me, and I understood both of us were working for the same cause, and as long as that was ensured, I had no reason to make opinions.
But fathers in India as we know are still pretty rigid. A non-rigid ‘no’ is finally a firm and binding disagreement. And daughters in India as we know are still pretty modest. So
I slept off. Because the little family later started with meals and sweets and another meal, without offering me any (ok how diabolical am I?), and Mr. Father made sure his back was turned on me, implying I must not try to catch the girl’s eyes if I was even faintly a self-respecting man.
And there was an endearing apparition when I woke up.
I woke up next to her.
Actually, and obviously, she had switched places and not me. My guess is, Pa must have badly wanted to use the loo after all the eating, and the girl being a smart ass, saw her chance. Whatever, I already liked the way she was thinking.
And how perfect was it then. I had had my share of peaceful rest. And I could effortlessly make a move now.
I did. And I started off with something I’d (in) voluntarily overheard in the conversation between the two. That she was a print journalist won her instant fascination from my being. And she was clearly older to me too. I think I stated this fact in some (probably) offending sense – I said something like ‘you do not seem to take good care of yourself’ type blah. Before you say ‘O dear God’, please believe me I saw fairly dark circles under her eyes, and that led to me to this avoidable conversational guffaw! The damage was done though. And the realization never came during the whole journey. I’m so glad I have a beautiful girlfriend. I could never get anyone else with my despicable heroics!
A woman scorned is a lot of trouble for the cause. I was the tiny cause.
We chatted up a lot after that. And she came across as a modestly fierce woman. Pretty confident too. I liked the way our conversations shaped up: an eclectic mix of issues and facts. I thought we were trying to take each others’ asses, and we managed that in a funny sort of way! And I was keeping happy thinking of having won the psychological warfare over her father, who couldn’t protect her long before falling for my colloquial bait!
I just scrolled up. It was a long one. I think I should stop here. I can’t write too much about her too right. I mean she’s got to have some privacy after all.
On the flip side, she might not have much of that. I managed her email ID. And I’m going to send her the link. And I know she’ll read it.
And friends, we shall see or I shall tell you how was this marginally fictionalized account of the one odd hour we had to us received at the other end.
A last word. Thanks gentlewoman for keeping the good company that day. Hope you slept well after your blabbering neighbor left!