I was naked, so was he and so was she. It never made a difference, we were used to it. Those who walk past us always looked down at us like a piece of shit, literally and thoughtfully which again didn’t make a big difference. We don’t give a damn about those who judge us. There was one guy who stopped by with a backpack; he looked decent with costly shirt and trousers. He settled at a safer distance and took something outside, the other guy next to me identified it as a camera that he had seen already elsewhere. I saw the man fidgeting it for a long time, looked through it and pointed on us. I was terrified; I turned my back towards him and continued playing. There were a few crossing us; a few used a kerchief to cover their nostrils whereas a few used their thumb and forefinger. Again, it didn’t make a big difference to us, we were used to it.
I wanted to ensure that the guy left, so I turned back and was thrown aback when I saw him just inches away from me. He crouched and gave me something which looked like those chocolate wrappers I have seen around in this place. But I was only destined to smell and lick the wrappers so far, and this being my first time to touch, unwrap and taste it, I smiled. No, I grinned.
“Will you pose for me?” he asked.
“What?” I asked, chewing the chocolate wafers for the first time.
“Just keep playing, don’t bother to look at me,” he said.
He was around us for another 20 minutes, while a few more crossed with their saree’s Pallu or Salwar’s dupatta over their face to avoid inhaling the stink. Whenever I look at any of them, they avert eye contact, I wonder why. I find this place nice because I get to try something new, I can be myself with her and sometimes, I have got a good meal as well.
The kind man walked towards me again to give another chocolate wafer wrapped in a deep blue cover with zig-zag corners. This time, he gave one to all three of us, so the whole bar was for me and I didn’t have to share. I was amused!
In a few days, I saw our picture, all three of us. It was beautiful, blown rectangular and in a size I have never imagined. We three looked at each other to ensure it was us. I saw her smiling! I have made her laugh heartily but this was the first time that she smiled.
There were words written, in a language that I didn’t know. In fact, that’s when I realized I can’t read or write any language for that matter. I have never been to school, so was he and so was she.
My friend went near a warm old man who thought we were trying to ask for money and moved away. “We are the three in that board there, what’s written next to our photo?” he blurted. He stopped moving and turned to read those words. “It says about pollution and how kids get affected,” he said and walked a few steps away, indicating that he is not ready for any more questions. I walked back to my dirty puddle and threw the chocolate wafers there, which she picked up and looked at me with a smile.
“When Regina was driving, the rain picked speed. She turned on the windshield wipers. All of a sudden, she saw a person standing on the road with a knife. – Her eyes welled up when he blurted out that he wants to marry her – Adopt a baby as she couldn’t conceive a baby..” He flipped the pages of the diary, reading the phrases in every rectangle and connected through numbers like a flow chart.
“What’s this big fat diary all about?” he asked quizzically.
“My plot book, all my scribbling and readings are put together.” I said and gave him coffee that he asked for.
“Too good! Mind-blowing! Wow…! You know? This is nice. What do you call it? Hobby, or passion, or just an interest in writing? Whatever it may be, it is so nice, a nice part of you!” he exclaimed.
I pulled my plot book from his hand, threw it behind me and adjusted to sit comfortably to start a conversation. It went on for hours. I love these ever interesting topics that we discuss. Anything and everything around the world takes its own part in our conversation. From my pet squirrel to the recently read book, from a mutual friend’s love story to another’s divorce, from a smile to frown to love and hate, just everything!
“They are seeking for you, right? Give that person this plot book. If he says wow, marry him. Else, a big no.” He said, trying hard to balance on one leg wearing his right leg’s socks.
He climbed down, two steps at a time. He stopped and looked up at me, I waved my hand with a smile, but his facial expression hinted that he is about to tell something. My brows knit asking ‘what.’
“If at all you missed, I did say ‘wow’ when I read your plot book,” He said and ran down the rest of the steps before I could even bat my eyes.
I went inside smiling, picked my plot book and flipped till I reached the empty page and wrote ‘He said wow,’ and knocked my head for being such a mean writer.
Nov 2nd, 2015
Her eyes gleamed and widened like a well-fed fat fish.
Awww! She exclaimed like the beauty contest winners.
“For me?” she asked, raising her brows that drew beautiful crinkles like beach waves on her forehead.
I stood rooted and when she smiled again looking at my eyes, I regained my consciousness. “OMG, that was a giant wheel ride,”I thought.
She pursed her lips to control the excitement and blush, but lucky me, her cheeks turned red that signaled the joy.
“Yeah, for whom else? you think I have another woman in my life,” I asked her with a chuckle.
“Umm,” she faked a frown and took the elegant pink box from my hands.
I saw the reflection of the bangles in her hands through her black grape pupils. It looked the best; I wanted to click a picture of her eyes through a DSLR. Stylori will steal the picture paying me much; I thought like the typical miser that I have been, all my life.
“Try it,”I told her.
“Ha.. haa.., okay,” that kind of annotation one could die for. I thought, how did I miss seeing this happiness. Oh, I guess this is the first gift am giving her after one year of marriage life. Poor lady!
She frowned and furrowed. “Errr. Ewww.,” she whimpered.
“Wha.. what?” I asked.
“Its not fitting me,” She frowned.
“OMG! I am so sorry. I thought it will fit you, this was the last piece available, actually.” I said. Good, keep going, you’re acting well, I told myself.
“I will try using the soap, It would let the bangle slid in,” she tried to move.
“but.. if.. it doesn’t fit even then, I can’t return at ease. Stylori takes returns but without any change to the original. Just in case, if anything happens to the bangle.. you know..” I dragged but managed not to show that am desperate to return it.
“Hmmm,” she exhaled and handed the bangles. The disappointment was a tough pill to swallow. “Get me some coffee,” I told to distract her.
I logged into my WordPress and narrated the exuberance in the most poetic way. One of the best narrations ever, I thought to myself. I should win this, 5000 INR is a big deal, I thought.
“This entry is a part of the Stylori – jewellery from the Heart contest organized in partnership with the Chennai Bloggers Club,” I completed my post with this sentence.
“Coffee!” she said and stretched her hand. I took the coffee mug and looked at her plain hands, the only time I saw them accessorized was during our wedding.
“Take a bow, why don’t you form a cheapskate club. How can you just do this?” the angel within spoke as usual, this time I stumbled to turn a deaf ear.
“I am not a poet, I have to experience to write something,” I tried to convince myself. “But, you can’t disappoint someone. You ordered something with a motive to participate in a content. Don’t misuse the easy refund policy, I bet you’ll regret when you win the contest.” the angel continued
Before I could change my mind, I clicked the next tab and navigated from the refund to the exchange page, selected 2.8 the right size of her bangles. They will ship in a day, she will be happy. Let me not disclose, I thought.
Sometimes, it’s worth it, I thought.
Nov 29th, 2015
“Yaayyy,” I heard her screaming with joy.
When she clapped hard wearing those tingling bangles for the first time. I lost myself in the crowd.
“How do you feel winning the contest Vishnu?” the emcee asked.
“Contest? No, I just wrote what I saw,” I looked back at my wife and penned a poem in mind. This time it was real, my inner angel smiled with all heart.
July 27th, 2015 10:00 PM
The lights were off, and the AC was on, I cuddled with my teddy bear and turned to my left. I slightly opened my eyes, and a face caught my attention. The face had sharp eyes, salt and pepper hair style that was unique, a sharp nose and wrinkled face with a thin jaw line. The eyes kept staring at me, It took me back so along with my teddy I took an 180-degree turn to face the wall. The face was still on my mind. Clean and clear, It definitely stared at me. Lying in the same position, I turned my head to see the book, my cheeks well dug on the cozy pillow. I blinked 5 times, I remembered the LASIK surgery that sometimes blurs my eyes due to dryness. Now the eyes didn’t stare but looked thick with an enchanting smile, the smile that we all sport when we see kids. I felt better that moment. Tried to turn back to my position and fell on the pillow upfront, I sniffed my pillow for its fragrance and settled. The face still running at the back of my mind.
July 28th, 2015 3:30 AM
I coughed unusually. I woke and searched for a water bottle at random and Picked my mobile instead, and the notifications distracted me. After a while, the wifi turned off as usual, and I fell back to my pillow. I was more curious, I jerked and turned to see the book. It furrowed now, huh? I thought and smiled. “What’s in it?” I thought, and remembered the horror movie that I saw in the afternoon with my boyfriend, horrific than the film.
“Good Morning beautiful,” I read his message. I called him quickly and narrated the incident, he laughed heartily. He said he will take me to another horror movie tomorrow. Out of curiosity, I walked to my bookshelf to see the book. It read “Wings of Fire” and I sighed at the cover. “Hey, did you know? Abdul Kalam passed away yesterday. You never watch the news, right?” he asked. “What?” I blurted and looked at the book, the eyes winked.
“What’s all this? why this sudden change?” I asked.
“Well, oh well, I changed?”
“Enough of it, what makes you do this to me?” I raised my brows.
“Fuck, it’s you. You changed, we are not made for each other.”“Ho..how.. how come? after three years?” I stammered
“Look! Don’t blame me, get that? I am just the same all these years, right from my birth. It’s you who changed; I tried adapting as much as I can, and you just didn’t bother to notice how hard I tried to fit. Now, am done!”
“This is insane. You can’t tell me that. I .. I did notice.. but..” I tried to convince and console, but am not that good at relationship management.
“Look, we are done. Take your time, and I will be here for you. Let’s see!”
“What the fuck? how long will you take?” Adithya yelled and knocked my door thrice.
I rushed and opened the door; he scanned me top to bottom.
“What skirt is this? All pink and white.” he furrowed.
“My jeans didn’t fit, its tight da,”
“One more time you tell me I didn’t fit you, I will rip you apart,” I heard from my jeans lying on the coach.
“Okay, okay!” I pacified my jeans and turned to the confused look of Adithya. “I’ve put on weight. I tried hard, but the Jeans didn’t fit me..” I mumbled.
“Where are we heading? McD?” he asked taking his helmet.
“Subway, please?” I raised my brows and pouted.
Objects on the mirror appear closer than they appear, he smiled and wore the helmet.
We walked together hand in hand across the aisle of Sathyam Cinemas. His Calvin Klein jeans and Burberry London perfume drew attention from every corner. He strode fast down the steps while I reduced my pace to admire the way he walked. He stopped and turned back to look at me. I blushed, he waved his hand to join him and I did.
A few girls from the third row cooed to each other, and I knew it’s about him, perks of having a smart boyfriend, I thought.
When I noticed a girl sitting left to the cozy couch we had booked, I pushed him across and sat to stay in the middle while that girl kept staring at my man. When he sat next, I moved closer and took his arms to ensure she realizes we are committed. Phew!
Lights dimmed, the crowd went mute, the movie screened and only silhouettes were visible, he tickled me and embraced. I blushed and looked at him, he stole a kiss quickly. That kind of kiss which pours his soul into me. “I will stay back in your apartment today,” I whispered. He winked and held me closer.
“Did you notice? Those girls were looking at you like anything. Why are you so smart?” I asked, staying tucked under his arms.
“No baby, they were looking at us. They stared at our togetherness. I smelled it.” he tried consoling.
“Are you Sure Veera?” I struggled to turn my head to meet his eyes.
“Am sure Rajesh, they looked at us like aliens. They will never understand, you sleep,” he patted me and hugged tightly.
When Ashwini fed Bala with a spoon of water, her father entered the room. “This is insane,” he mellowed. “Dad,” she shook her head signifying not to talk.
“How are you feeling?” he asked taking the seat next to Bala’s bed replacing Ashwini.
“Am good uncle, just one more day. You will see the carnivore, no more diets or extensive workouts,” he laughed.
“That’s good news, please don’t take up these assignments. I am worried,” he touched his hand and Bala’s nod made him smile.
“Dad, we will start early tomorrow. By 5:00 AM and I don’t know when we will return,” Ashwini entered the room with a cup of coffee.
“Why? No, I will go with him. You better work tomorrow. I already heard from your sister that there are several complaints at the school. Am all free, I can accompany,”
She looked at Bala, and he smiled batting his eyes acknowledging.
When Ashwini woke the next day, Bala was already up, he was busy looking at the mirror. She hugged him from behind and caressed his body feeling his 6-pack abs.
“Looks perfect nah? though not like Arnold, I look like SRK nah” he asked, turning and holding her shoulders.
“Hard work never fails Bala,” she hugged him and spent a minute hearing his heart beat.
“Please record the shoot okay? I want to see,” she told when he walked out with her dad.
“Sure, why not,”
She was pre-occupied, and it reflected at School. When questioned, she said them all about the ad shooting. She was thrilled; many congratulated and said they will wait to see Bala on screen.
“Wow Bala, you look like Mr.Perfect man,” the director exclaimed when Bala removed his shirt.
“Sheer dehydration sir, been months that I had normal food. All credits to the trainer,” he said.
“Yeah, I wanted to tell you yesterday about dehydrating your body.”
“Trainer did,” he smiled and walked along with him to the spot.
Hours together he was flaunting his body and the shoot, as usual took hours to complete.
Ashwini was waiting for him and after a long wait, he stepped in all tired. Her face lit with glee, “Yayyy, how was the shoot? Did you record the video.” she pondered. “Yes, yes, I did,” her father replied entering the home.
“Dad” she raised her brows. “I will prepare dinner,” she said and swiftly moved in when they stopped her stating they had dinner at the shooting spot.
She spent her night replaying the video again and again.
2 Months later, when they aired the new Cinthol ad, her eyes welled. They showed only his bare 6-packs drawing a yellow hint of plus over it.
She smiled ear to ear and looked at him. “My hero,” she thought, and he placed his hand on her head and pat gently.