Continuation from, here – A title goes here
Two figures walked, tired after a game of cricket through the dusty streets of the village. The contrast between them brought a smile to the onlookers. The tiny tot walking arm in arm with the lanky man – multiple tiny steps trying to cover the same distance as a single step of a grown up man. In spite of any physical apperances, they were friends. At least both of them thought that. Their reasons all so different. One ignorant of the troubles and prejudices of adult life, and the other craving innocence and truth.
The odd duo slowly reached a small house. It was yet another of those rows of houses – so alike, and each so different. They say, "people make homes" and it has never been so apparent, as here. A tired lady came in her saree, all set with a metal plate holding two towers of lime juice. Both of them smiled at the same time, ever so thankful for the refreshing cool that it brought in the dusty, heated streets. They made themselves comfortable in the concrete slab set in front of the house. The smell of hot pakodas streamed through the house and pandered them to get in. However, neither of them moved. The young one continued his one sided monologue on his philosophies of life.
"Govind, itni tang mat kar sahib ko", called his mom from the kitchen, attending to straining the oil from the pakodas.
"Nahin ma! Yeh mera dost hai. Main apne doston ko tang nahin karta", and he jolted inside, not able to hold himself anymore to devour some pakodas, fresh from the stove.
He gazed into the house, observing the stark inside. There were two rooms. All whitewashed by the same guy who practically whitewashed all the houses in the village, except for the rich old geezers' who somehow got wind of the fact that emulsion looks better and that he could afford it. As he observed the decor and was humbled by the simple, yet comfortable setting, he sensed Gopal coming back with a tray. He thought to himself, about how lucky he was, to have got such an impressive kid as a friend. There were no ends to what he would preach about.
"Here, have some pakodas", Govind said in perfect English. The accent and intonation never ceased to amaze him, everytime he spoke to him. He was amazed at how the school was actually urging these boys to speak in such fluent English. He took one and savored the taste. No, nothing ever came close to it. And the friends hastened to finish it off.
"You eat a lot Kisan", Govind ventured to score one over his friend. Kisan just took a long look at him, caught his breath and took a sip of the lime juice, and continued the attack. "Ok, the last one's for me", cried Govind as he snatched the plate and took it in, gobbling up the cooling pakodas en route to hand the plate over to his mum. She gave his a pat on the head, and placed a kiss on his cheeks. She called out, "Dhyaan se jaana, aur ghar vaapas jaldi aa jaana, aur apne dost ko jyaada tang mat karna. Aur haan, aaj Baba ghar jaldi aa rahe hain", to the back of Govind, who was wasting no time to get back to Kisan, to continue the thread of conversation he was having, or to start a new thread….
No one saw the smile in her simple face as she turned back to the hot oil, dropping in some more pakodas to be fried, waiting for the man of the house to arrive.
The dynamic duo now continued their retinue to their usual "hang out" place, named so by Govind, after he was introduced to an English sticom from the school. He even arranged stone slabs abutting an ancient banyan tree, and called it "Central Perth", aping it more and more. Here's where they had their evening spent for them! Govind droning about the day, and him, listening to everything. Lilted by the guy's company.
"She made it only because Baba was coming home early. Not for me," he said in mock sadness, sitting at the slab closest to the tree, looking at him for some sympathy. He just smiled and sat at their favorte spot. The slab, closest to the tree. They loved this spot, well at least he did. A clear view from the mound showed the entire village in all its splendor. He could see the farmers walking back with their cattle. The women shopping for dinner vegetables and other things, to be bought in caprice or a momentary impulse. And he could see the sun – the only reminder to his true self. He loved watching it set. He loved watching the orange sky, slowly turning red, almost crimson before the final sigh and drop. And the pure white moon, if presen. It reminded him of his own previous life as he referred to it, to himself. He had been a bright shining star, pervading light, to breathe life. But, slowly, his life had turned ugly, deathly and before the final crash, it was bloody. And he arose as Kisan, with no taint on him that people would notice – as a full moon, he thought to himself.
Govind decided to break the silence, which he thought lasted long enough. "You know why I love this place?" It was a teaser question. It was as if he almost dared Kisan to reply to it. "I love it because, I can do a lot of things from here. Spend time with you, keep track of when Baba is getting home, and the best part. I can kill these mota mota ants out here." A pristine smile followed. "Hey Baba is coming," he cried and jumped up and ran towards the village.
Silence sweeped in on him again, swarming his head suddenly as he watched the crimson grow brighter the surrounding darker. He stretched his legs and enjoyed the sensation of blood rushing through his legs, as they moved from numb to life. He picked up his diary and shook the pen to clear the clot caused by keeping it the other way.
I love hanging around with Govind. He helps me feel comfortable with his smatter. And I am yet into one of those moments, which I dread. I don't remember much from that night. However, I do remember some horrible things from that night. We were driving on the highway. I was tense and pissed off after the final letter. She was there right by me, feigning support! Little did she realise the amount of breach she had caused in me. All along, she was merely pretending, playing with my whims and using me.
I sometimes ask why? Why can't a person be loved the same way they love someone else? I gave her everything I had. And in the end, at the final point, I gave my life. That was the only way, I could justify my love of her. Yes, she was a fake. She had led me on right from the very moment. Only on retrospection do I feel so used and manipulated. At that point, I was just like another love sick yuppie clinging on to her breath, her words, her scent, she was indeed what my very life meant. Probably that was the reason why I felt it so hard. To realise that your very life was a farce!
And that's why I decided to end it all that day. And that's why I made the car swerve and buckle and crash on to the tree, very well knowing that I could end something that I found recently – Me! But, I knew that I wouldn't want to hurt her. And I knew I couldn't even if I wanted to. I still remember the sounds that night. The screeching tires, the bursting glass, the dull thud of a heavy body hitting the trunk. The shriek of a scared woman, the fear in her eyes. It hurts to have caused her so much pain. But, it had to be done for me to get away from that life! As the car hit my side to the tree, and I caught my final moments of consciousness, I saw her, hanging limp in front of me. There were shards of broken glass all around us. The Air Conditioner was blowing overtime and the air just tipped the cold atmosphere into a freeze. As I closed my eyes, my wrinkes ceased to crease, and my lips tried to loosen up…
I woke up first, to the water splattering all around me. The weather was as predicted in Google. A light shower came from the smattering of dark clouds around me. My deed wasn't done yet. I woke up and moved towards her. The rain had washed some of her makeup. The female behind that coverup still brought a feeling in me that I can never forget. It was hard to shirk everything away, and I fought hard to take it off my mind whilst I brought her body outta the wreckage. I lay her on a patch of green at a safe enough distance from the car. The putrid smell of gas was slowly burning up through my nose mixed with blood. But, nothing mattered anymore. The sun was setting and the moon was coming out….
What makes a person not love another person the same way he/she loves her/him? And why should everyone play along, as if it's a compromise? Shouldn't life, or at the very least love be devoid of compromises? I learnt one lesson though. Honesty builds trust. Trust better be one of the major part of the relationship anyone gets along. Yes, I am smiling at the very thought that I have turned philosophical these days….
Thinking has become a habit!
Well, I had to after losing the power of voice.
I don't consider it all that bad.
A small price to get this life, a friend like Govind and freedom under the stars….
He stretched his hand now, realising that it too had become numb. His lips pursed, he decided to do the full stretch under the stars. The moon was rising through the clouds and becoming prominent. "Yes, it was all worth it to cater to the things I finally found – freedom, love, the moon, ME!"….