Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Bus Journey

Tushar hurried in the rain to catch the bus. He was muttering curses under his breath. It was imperative that he catch the bus, and it looked very likely at the moment that he would miss it. There were no autos or taxis to be seen anywhere. He had forgotten to bring his raincoat or umbrella which was why he was now wet to the bone, splashing through the knee deep water carrying his bag in his arms. At last , after what seemed like an eternity, he reached the bus stand. Thank God, his bus was still there.

Tushar climbed on to the bus, avoiding the angry stares of his fellow passengers, all looking at the person who had delayed all of them. 25 , 25 he muttered and found his seat. The aisle seat on the driver's side, third row from the back , the only empty seat in the whole bus. No sooner had he settled into his seat than the bus started.

Tushar hated onboard movies which was why he had opted for this bus, which never showed any. He also preferred the window seat , so he could stare outside. Unfortunately on this trip he had to make do with the aisle seat. He turned his head sideways , wanting to get a look at his neighbour. She was staring out of the bus - he could only see her silky smooth hair. Dressed in jeans and Tees. Tushar had never been the kind of guy who waits for the other person to start a conversation. Accordingly , he bent forward and said, "Hi, Iam Tushar".

She turned her head. Her face looked lovely - oval face with a dark complexion , perfectly sculpted , full lips and somehow hauntingly familiar. Her eyes were what struck him the most - deer's eyes. "Hello, Iam Priya", she replied, smiling in return. Thus encouraged, Tushar plunged recklessly ahead.

Priya was going to her hometown, she explained. A guy was coming over to see her. She had never even seen him, nor bothered to check out his picture that her parents had sent her.

"Why?", Tushar asked, surprised.

"Iam in love with another guy and am going to marry him. Why should I be bothered about a guy whom I have never met , who is coming to my place tomorrow to see me, whom Iam never going to marry anyway", Priya shot back, her face proudly defiant , her eyes sparkling.

Tushar felt as if a jolt of electricity had passed through him. For he remembered now why Priya's face had seemed so familiar. Hers had been among one of the photos his parents had sent to him, the girl he was going to meet tomorrow. Indecision gripped Tushar's heart. Should he tell Priya that he was the guy supposed to meet her tomorrow? How would she react then? 'No, better to keep quiet', Tushar thought. Still he felt a strange feeling of loss, for in that brief interval, he had come to like this lovely , smart girl.

Priya's phone rang. "My boyfriend", Priya said shyly. She turned her head and soon they were exchanging sweet nothings over the phone. The sound smote Tushar's heart. He tried hard not to listen and curled up to try and get some sleep. He woke up suddenly in the night. Something had woken him up. He looked around. The sight and sound of Priya sobbing shocked him. He was too embarassed to ask her. He would talk to her in the morning , he promised himself and went back to sleep.

When he woke up the sun was already high in the sky. He had overslept. He turned to Priya's seat and was disconcerted to see she was no longer there. Her stop had come and gone. He felt at a loss for words. Would he ever know why she had been crying? There was only one thing for him to do , the only decent thing. He could not go ahead with the proposal with a girl who so clearly loved another. He would tell his parents he was not interested in that girl , and then hopefully, Priya would have the life she dreamed about.

His parents reaction was typical and expected. They could not understand why Tushar was pulling out from the proposal at this late stage, when he had been so enthusiastic all along. But Tushar was adamant, and they had to give way. His father called up Priya's house and explained how they would not proceed with the proposal. Something to do with horoscope matching , Tushar's father mumbled over the phone. The rest of the day passed really slowly. His parents did not speak to him once. Tushar himself was happy that he had done the right thing by Priya, that she could now get married to the person she loved. As for his parents, time would soon bring them back to their normal selves.

He woke up early the next day , waited for his mother to bring him his cup of tea in bed , as she always did. She came and he was shocked to see her eyes were red. She had obviously been crying. She couldn’t look him in the eye, just flung the newspaper in his general direction. The news item was on the third page. A small three inch column. 'Jilted girl commits suicide' , went the headline. His eyes blurred as he read the news. Priya was dead. What had happened? He would never know. "I did the right thing", he wanted to scream , but he knew, in the eyes of his parents, Priya's parents , he would always be the person who had sent their daughter to her death.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Liar Liar

Disclaimer: This is a true incident narrated as it happened. The conversation you hear is that spoken by a guy on his mobile phone - a guy who was my neighbour in the Volvo bus yeterday on the Calicut Bangalore route ( Didn’t know in my wildest dreams that such pompous idiots actually exist ). The comments in italics are my thoughts at the time. Since I did not have any intention of posting this on the blog at the time, some of the thoughts may be a bit lurid. Also as it gets late , my thoughts become more violent as I realize Iam not going to get the sleep I bargained for. Also the conversation was a whole lot longer, but this is all I remember today.

The bus had just started from Calicut , the lights have been dimmed and I am getting ready for a good night's sleep.This guy calls up his girlfriend on the phone and starts talking. I can only hear his side of the conversation.

"Hi , Iam on the bus"
So am I
"We have just started from Calicut. Whats with all these South Indians? The names they choose for their places - Malayalees, Tamils, Kannadas they are all the same."
Oh ho that’s rich coming from you Mr Snake-in-the-Grass Gujarati

"What are the others doing? Some of them are talking on their mobiles like myself, while others are dozing"
And a unfortunate few are trying to

"Hey Nisha, I saw your pic in your profile.Were you wearing any lens?No ? Oh so you have cat's eyes"
Tu bhi yaar. Cut the crap. Hmm Nisha. Nice name.

"Are you in the kitchen? I can hear the sound of utensils"
She is with her lover right now dumbhead and they are making love on the kitchen table
"Its raining again, heavily. It always does this. Thankfully it didn’t rain before I got on the bus. I don’t have an umbrella. I have found it often happens with me. When I want something to happen really badly , I just have to think it and it just happens"
Is this guy for real? Who does he think he is ? Welcome to God's Own Country O Exalted One.
"I don’t get angry at all. I mean when Iam getting angry, it means Iam handing over control of my feelings to someone else"
Not very original in our thoughts are we, Mr Wise Guy
"Hey you are breaking up"
Hooray. Perhaps the guy will take a hint and hang up

"Don’t worry. Let me cut and call you again"
Oh No there goes that hope. Maybe there will be no signal and I will be saved. Who am I kidding? Whats a poor mobile signal to a guy who controls the weather?

"Thank God, I got you. This paid one week vacation is really good. And the company doesn’t deduct it from my 27 days Annual leave either"
Good for you. Unfortunately, Iam not on paid leave, I need to go to office tomorrow.

At this point, Nisha decided to take matters into her own hands and cut the phone. May the Gods shower their choicest blessings on you , dear lady.

The rest of the night was spent fighting over the shared arm rest. Luckily for me , this guy never got angry , so things didn’t turn out too badly for me.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Interpretation of Dreams

Subhash woke up. He hadnt had a good night's sleep. He had been dreaming about Shwetha the whole night. No reason really. He hadnt gone to sleep thinking about her. Infact , he rarely thought about her now - it had been like this since that day one month back he had decided that the two of them were meant to go their separate ways.

His mind wandered back one year. His second day in office. He had seen this vision in a black salwar kameez, with the face of an angel. He had never believed in love at first sight , but then and there she had become his first ever crush. It had taken him one month just to summon his courage and speak to her face to face. And from that day on , they had been the best of friends.

Shwetha was already married and Subhash himself was committed. Perhaps that was the reason he never unburdened his heart's deepest secret to her. He didnt know. He knew he loved the girl he was engaged to , but he treasured his crush for Shwetha - a feeling not likely to be reciprocated because Shwetha probably was unaware of this secret. And so he had decided, never to reveal to her his true feelings for her. He had argued with himself for days , but what clinched it was that in his heart he knew there was no future for any such relationship. And there was no point in ruining a perfectly good friendship by trying for something that was never to be.

And now he was resigning and leaving for a land far away. It was unlikely that they would meet ever again. His mind had fluttered at that point , wondering if he should not tell her the truth before they parted. In the end he had decided that it was best that all this remained buried in the recesses of his heart. Which was why it was so strange that he should have had this dream today.

He had dreamed that Shwetha had come to his place yesterday. He had been alone there. They had got talking and accidentally their fingers had touched. The feeling was electric. He could have sworn that she blushed. An then one thing led to another and before long they found themselves in each other's arms. At this point he had woken up. Subhash was disturbed by the dream. He didnt know what to make of it. Did it mean that Shwetha actually reciprocated his feelings - or was it just his own mind playing on his feelings, leading him to believe what he wanted to believe.

He sat in bed for half an hour , trying to analyse the dream. Try as he might he could not make sense of the dream.Frustrated , he got up , dressed and went to office. Wonder of wonders - the first person he saw was Shwetha. She started as soon as she saw him. She came upto him and whispered, blushing , "What happened last night should never have happened. Please, never mention this to anyone".