How should I bring it up to you? I am at loss.
When Santiago was in the desert oasis waiting for the tribal war to end, he had seen few wild birds, borne air, fighting together. He had gone to the desert, a little far from the habitation, because he wanted to contemplate over the recent upcomings in his life. He wanted to think of the girl, whom he had met near the well, and the emotions that had aroused in him afterwards. It was a different kind of feeling. At least different from the one he had felt whenever he thought of the merchant girl. He knew this was love, as it had come into being all of a sudden, while he was directed to go near the well. He wanted to understand it. And he wanted no one to interrupt him, not even the universe. And he thought that the desert would remain indifferent to him, as it generally remained, except the destruction and reincarnation of dunes, that too with the third party element, the wind; the desert always looked cool, detached, and separate. The desert had its own world, and own laws. At least he thought so. But he saw the birds there. Fighting. As if they were especially placed there, in an emblem of a sign, for him to decipher. It was not normal. Indeed, in normal course you can’t see something abnormal. You can’t see the signs. And suddenly, he had the vision. A vision that told him, that the oasis would be attacked the very next day – an abnormal thing in the desert because it was governed by traditions and ancient laws.
This made me think of signs, signs of life; a kind of language that can be understood only by the strong desire to understand. It was then, with ‘The Alchemist’, I started on. And I really felt that the universe had started revealing itself to me. Similar to Santiago, I turned inside for the wisdom, for the reason of the intricate moves, and for the purpose and roots of my feelings.
Today, I was little late in office. When I came down to the reception to mark my leaving time, I un-resolutely moved toward the corner, between the two sofa-sets, where at a table it had today’s newspaper. There was only the Hindi paper – NaiDunia. I picked it up lazily as I normally didn’t read Hindi papers. They used to have the same crap daily, someone died here, someone robbed there, nothing intellectual, and the editorials were the worst junk. Leafing it through the city-corner-pages, where they used to publish some glamour, I saw her photograph. Standing in the corner, wearing a pink top that had white edges around the neck and at end of sleeves, and a black skirt, or pant, I couldn’t see properly as the picture was at a very low resolution, she had balanced herself with more proneness to her right leg. She had bangles, of different colors, white, pink, red, all glued to each-other, square on the edges with a circular holes at the center to let her hands go through it. Ear-rings complemented them, though I couldn’t see them properly either but I knew what exactly they looked like, as I had earlier seen them dangling by her pinna. And she held some soft drink bottle in her hands over which her fingers curled with each other, making their place amid the other. Her hairs, parted in the middle, were tied behind. Few digressed streaks of them fell in front of her face, both sides, in perfect poise, making her look much more beautiful through those hairy lines. Was it a sign? It was the first thought that came to my head. I folded the paper properly, and asked at the reception if I could take it with me.
I went home, all the way thinking of it, of her, wayfaring, with slow steps, anticipating a kind of vision. But nothing came. Then I wondered if I had desired enough to read the signs. I didn’t want to lose hold of the optimism that had come after so long. I wanted to reason and prove that it had a purpose, that it was put there especially for me.
I took the paper out of my bag once again as I reached home. And I lit a cigarette. She hated it, and had made me promise that I would never smoke, in a typical girlish way to show concern, care. Affection! And I had assured her. But now, she wasn’t around, not even at enough distance that I would be seen. We didn’t have any common friends. And we had no contact for a long time, so she would never come to know about my smoking. And even if she came to discover it, she would only hate me more. And I wanted her to feel sad. And precisely for this reason, I lit the cigarette. A secret vengeance that only I knew about! I looked at the photograph once again. And read the whole article. It was actually about a hair-stylizing workshop held yesterday in Fortune Land Mark hotel. It talked about how to take proper care of long hairs, how to make them more shiny, how to make them curly, or straight, especially if one was not able to visit the beauty-parlor daily. Who goes to the parlor daily anyways? It had nothing for me.
I could find nothing that would possibly be termed as a sign. Then I thought that even though it didn’t tell me anything, it at least brought the memory back to me. Rekindled the flame. I knew that the fire would never succeed it as it was all damp out of my own tears. But, still I could keep it. If nothing else, then just like a remembrance. I decided that I would frame it and would place it on my study table.
I went out to the nearest newspaper vendor to procure another piece of it. I was scared that it would soon rot, and would turn yellow, out of the poor paper quality that they used in the news paper. There I found another news paper, Dainik Bhaskar, which had the same news and a different photograph in a different pose. Here all the girls were in a queue and she stood second to the last. This time, she had balanced equally on both legs, and looked more serious, attentive, conscious. I bought that too, and went straight to a Gift-Shoppe, and purchased a photo frame. It was five to ten when I returned back home.
Men tend to be optimistic, hopeful – sometimes even in the bleakest circumstances. Even if, they saw only dark, they would fool themselves saying that it might be the beginning of another dawn. It was though all good, but for me, it worked all against everything. I was perhaps being over sanguine; trying to see things that were no where. The other paper had more details. And her name too. She was termed as a model. And it made me feel even sadder, more remote, more apart from her. But, I thought that it might be just another stark night, and the bright day would follow soon.
I placed the frame onto my study table, at the left corner edge where the light fell candidly from the electric tube. She looked prominent amid the shambles of empty cigarette packs, and rack of papers. Now she was there with me, though I wasn’t, and I could look at her and tell all about my feelings, could weep to her, could persuade her not to leave me, could make her believe how much I loved her; and though she wouldn’t listen to all this, I would at least unburden myself, and sleep in peace, without my migraine taking up the role. I thought of writing a book discussing all these. But that would make her know how pitiable I went during the time she wasn’t with me. And later on, if she came back, she wouldn’t feel much comfortable, much secure with me, and hence I refrained. How disgustfully optimistic I was going; I laughed upon my own stupidity. I was myself making fun of me, how would I have expected others not to do such? I thought I could at least make myself write a post for my blog. In this way, she wouldn’t come to know about me, and I too would vent out my own vexation. What if she read my post? This wasn’t possible in any way. If she had time, and she had cared enough, to read my postings, would she have, at the first place, ever gone away? I sat down and wrote a long article about all this, and all her. I marveled over my own words.
Once she had read one of my postings and had said that had Aishwarya Rai read it she would have gone all wet after me. Perhaps, because she wasn’t Aishwarya Rai she didn’t come to me.