Sunday, February 21, 2010

Stupid sunglasses !

Siddharth looked at his best friend’s sister looking at herself in the mirror. She was wearing a full-sleeved flowery shirt to prevent her perfect, delicate arms from getting tanned. The black baggy jeans did not show off her shapely legs but she had always liked it that way. And he agreed with her. He didn’t like anyone looking at her.

‘Hey kiddo! You are going somewhere?’, he asked as she went inside.

‘Obviously, can’t you see I am getting ready?’, she replied, coming out from some dark recesses of her home. She smeared a generous amount of sunscreen on her face and neck

He watched her through his brown tinted sunglasses. She seemed to be contemplating lining her eyes with kohl but decided against it as she put down the kohl stick. Now he was sure she wasn’t meeting any boy.

“Where is your brother?”, he asked, breaking the silence.

“I don’t know. Do you think I keep watch on his comings and goings?”

He didn’t say anything. He stood leaning against the door.

She continued, “Why should he tell me where he goes? It’s none of my business, is it? Only he has the right to interrogate me and suspect that I am meeting some boy. Only Mr. ‘high and mighty’ has the right to do whatever he likes.”

She started combing her hair vigorously. He hoped she didn’t pull out all her hair. He liked her hair. He also liked a lot of other things about her. But, that was another matter.

“He could be with that stupid Shivani, you know? She always keeps calling him up and he talks to her as if sugar melts in his mouth. I don’t know what he sees in her. I wish my brother had some brains. And some good taste.”

“Well, for all you know, she could be having a brain and a kind heart underneath her…er…assets.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know what you mean”, she said, rolling her eyes.

In all of two minutes, she had platted her hair into a single braid. She was done getting ready. Now the only thing left was the ritual. The one he had seen every girl of his acquaintance following. She took out a bright, multi-colored dupatta and covered her head with it. Then, with a swift intricate motion that he could never make head or tail of, she had tied the dupatta, covering her face except for the eyes. And then they were soon hidden too by her magenta sunglasses.

“Well, you hang on here. My good-for-nothing brother will soon be back, I hope. Until then, you can gorge on some Gajar ka halwa mother made this morning,” she said as she smiled at him and went out.

Oh, how he loved her! He has never ever felt this way about anyone before. He wondered whether she would ever realize how much he cared for her. Couldn’t she see the love for her in his eyes? He sighed, took off his sunglasses and looked at them in his hands. How could she with these damned sunglasses?

****

Pooja cursed herself for agreeing to meet him on such a hot afternoon. Why did she always agree to whatever he said to do? Maybe it was guilt. Hadn’t it been she who had ended it? Or maybe she loved him still. She ignored that reason. She definitely didn’t want to think about it.

She waited for him in the park. The same bench where they had spent more hot afternoons, like this one. And she was wearing black, of all colors. She had no protection against the heat, except her sunglasses and the dupatta she had wrapped around her head which made her feel more hot. Why had they never met on beautiful sunny days when she, along with the sun, shone brilliantly? Why hadn’t they ever done anything different? Even grey stormy days were better than this. At least it would have been romantic. Maybe she would still be in love with him and nobody would have been hurt. And there never would have been this crazy, never ending guilt.

She looked around, to pass her time. The garden was empty except for some men who came for their daily ritual, their beloved afternoon nap. The swings moved with the hot air that sailed through them. The same swing where she had once sat in his lap and they had kissed for the first time. They had once spent an afternoon reading jokes to each other from a book he had found in the pasti. She looked away. The dull, lifeless grass, the bushes, the flowers and every other stupid thing about this place made her go back and remember. It always seemed to mock her and jeer at her. How she hated this place! When was he going to come and tell his big news, so that she could go away from this hideous place? Ten minutes, she thought, not a minute more was she going to wait in such a suffocating atmosphere.

Why was he late? He usually never came late. Something was wrong. No, he must have got trapped in traffic. She started to ignore the thought that something was wrong but it kept coming back, like a pendulum. Her mind swayed between the two thoughts until finally it decided to feel tense. Why hadn’t he come yet? Why didn’t she have a cell phone, to call him? Maybe he had an accident, maybe he was lying somewhere in a pool of blood and nobody helping him. No, the thought was unbearable.

She closed her eyes, to relax herself.

‘Hey, Pooja, guess what!’ His voice jolted her out of her reverie. She had never been so happy to see him. He was alright. Nothing had happened to him. And she was still in love with him. She smiled brilliantly at him.

‘Whoa, you are sure in a very good mood today! You are going to be even happier when you hear what I have to say! I think I am in love. I just met the most incredible girl today!’ As he said these words, the light suddenly went out in her eyes. He sat next to her, as she uttered words, which seemed hollow and empty to her but seemed to assure him that she was so excited for him. He was so happy that he didn’t see anything else. Not the tears, waiting to drop but held back by some strange anti gravitational force. Not her eyes, which suddenly became so empty, devoid of anything happy or anything sad. He never saw that she still cared. How could he, with these stupid sunglasses?

2 comments:

Faustus said...

Now this is the kind of stuff i like... well written and well thought of... less action, more thinking and sad endings :).. Nice

Rachel said...

Loved it