Love Traps – II
Each love is a new love. Every time it fills you up with new hopes, new dreams, new life. Where is the flaw? Or is it, in any way, a flaw? Love changes. It starts, it grows, it decays, it dies. It has a full life cycle. If not, then how come you fall for one single woman despite that the world is flooded with beautiful women, some more beautiful than her, some less. But, you fall for one. And you promise to keep fallen, drowned in love, with her, with that chosen one. But, then does it mean that you don’t like other women, or you don’t feel any temptation – a similar kind of temptation that you had felt with this woman earlier – for other women? “Love is like a tug-of-war, a game in essence, with protocols of ego, and temptation, and attraction. The more you fall into it, the less you remain into it.” I said, as if I had the profound experience of love, and then looked back over my shoulder at Jatin. He was sitting behind me and I was driving the bike. He seemed to be lost in thoughts. I shifted my glance back on road.
We had just taken our dinner and weren’t sure of going back home so were driving aimlessly. Since there wasn’t any destination to reach, I was comparatively slower than my usual speed. It was thirty past ten in night and roads were quite deserted. In this time, seeing a girl, that too driving alone, was a miracle. “You punk…move fast.” Jatin shouted from behind. I sped my bike to catch up to her. I wanted to see her face. Jatin was curious too.
She looked beautiful. Her shapely, slender, lithesome figure proclaimed this too loudly to resist. She wore white salwar-suit, high heel sandals, and long earrings dangling by her ears. I couldn’t see much of her, part due to bad light and part due to her awesome figure that ceased every effort of minute observation. I raced my bike until I reached hers and drove parallel to her for some time. This gave me an opportunity to scrutinize her in more details. She was in sleeveless, stainless white kurta. She had a Titan watch in her right hand that perhaps meant that she was left-handed, and her palms were garnished with fresh brunette ‘mehnadi’. She sat straight that gave her the commanding position over her bike, stymieing any equation of correlation between her and the machine. She was commanding the machine. The machine roared under her as though even after yielding, it had some vestige of individuality, of self pride. But she was ruthless and her bike had succumbed to her prowess, only growling its grievances intermittently.
I crossed my bike around her to make her notice our presence. She did. She looked right at me, staring right in my eyes, her short but decisive gaze scissored through me, and in a moment I understood that she wasn’t any game there; rather I could become a prey if I insisted much. But I threw this thought away. I respect women who respect themselves, who aren’t vulnerable, who aren’t weak, frail, but I never go after them. Not that I dread this feminine confidence – rather I appreciate it – but because I don’t see any hole to break the dam through. They are the complete women, full and content and at ease with themselves; there is nothing for me to do. They don’t need men of my kind. They dominate, and I hate being dominated.
The moment’s stare was enough to write further story. And I was obliged to pen it down. I followed her, maintaining a sacred distance, close enough to register my presence, far enough to retain the gap – the distance, the nexus, the possible hope, the possible encounter.
We had scaled around a mile or so when Jatin said, “Dost, we must talk to her.”
“Yes” I relied back, still in contemplation, trying to figure out how. “Will you talk? I will stop her.”
“I can. Certainly I would. But I need a place, a good place…you see…this would be my first encounter of such kind…and I don’t want to ruin it…that too…you see…only because I did not choose a right place.” He said more to himself than to me.
“What do you mean by such kind…eh?” I jutted my sudden anger over him.
“Today you multicast a quotation, remember? Women need reason to have sex, men need only a place.”
“But, you are not going to have sex with her, at least not right here on M.G. Road.”
“No. certainly not. I just want to appreciate her beauty. You know…what you feel…you must say.”
“hmmm…good.” I said and raced my bike again to catch her.
She veered towards Rajwada. Perhaps she was retuning home. But this time in night, I mean at eleven o’clock, this was a bit strange. “This is Indore boss.” Jatin defended as if this were a normal thing.
This side of the city was not very urban – at least not in terms of people’s behavior and attitude towards lone girls. Soon two bikes came between her and me. I could see their vulgar eyes leering at her as if they would macerate her soul right there on the road. She sped forward and so did those punks. They chased her and passed few salacious notes. But she wasn’t vulnerable, I knew this. She didn’t move a bit and drove off them with her same decisive command that took over her bike. I wasn’t sure if she realized our presence. But we guessed that she did. Men are unquestionably optimistic, and in situations such as this, their optimism grows leaps and bounds.
“How long would we chase her?” Jatin asked me.
“See. There is one thing you must understand and appreciate.” I said saintly as if preaching him.
“What is that Guru ji?” he quipped.
“That there is one thing, and only one thing, that is absolutely yours. That you are entirely responsible for.”
“No. Dreams are junks. You hide your failures behind it. You harbor your imaginations in it. You are not responsible for what you are thinking; but for what you are doing.” Jatin went silent, pondering what it might be. I continued.
“Your efforts. They are the most precious among everything that you have got. Never let them go in waste. Harness whatever you can from what you have invested.”
“so…what are you going to harness out of it?”
“Her home.” I said and peered at him. He smiled back.
After a long time, and another two or three miles, she suddenly stopped by a phone booth. I thought the end of the story has come. Eleven in night…and this girl is going to call someone. It was weird. I couldn’t decide what to do and drove past the shop…only to return back from the next lamppost. I had decided that I had to talk to this girl, no matter how, no matter where. But I had to. A decision is a decision after all. And one must respect what one has chosen himself.
There was a pan shop beside the telephone booth. I steered my bike there and parked abruptly on the pavement. The shop vendor threw an alienating peek at me. I stared back at him. Eyes are the windows of you inner soul. They manifest your strength.
I purchased a packet of cigarette, lit one, and stood by the bike while kept my eyes fixed at the booth.
“What now?” Jatin asked me. I remained quite. I didn’t know what to do, or what to think. Soon the cigarette vanished, leaving us at a point where making a decision becomes urgent.
I lit another cigarette, moved its tip up in air, as if proclaiming a solemn word, and said, “If she doesn’t come out until this one, we would go back.”
Meanwhile I was thinking what to do. Suddenly I thought why not to go into the shop and find out what she was doing there. I threw the half worn cigarette, waived my hands at Jatin: “I am going to make a call to your cell”, and paced hastily towards the shop.
The booth vendor ushered me to an empty cabin. Voila! She was in the next one. She sat wearily on the stool, talking to someone with the receiver pressed between her ears and shoulder, while her hands toyed with the key rings. The ring was utterly feminine. A red colored high heel shoes whose back was stabbed with a round key hook. She didn’t seem to notice me. But I kept my stare at her while I dialed Jatin’s number. I wasn’t able to listen in to her conversation, but her gesture told me that some bickering was on. I slipped more towards the glass wall, but the sound didn’t transpire. Instead, her glance did.
As she looked at me, I locked my eyes with her. Her confident eyes met mine. I could feel my own vulnerability then, but fixed my stare nonetheless. I had to make a talk and this was a good ground work. She moved her eyes back. She had recognized me. Perhaps she had noticed me miles back. Or perhaps I was just meekly optimistic. Whatever, our eyes kept locking and unlocking and then again locking, as if they were in a temple performing a sanctified ritual.
She stood up abruptly and left the cabin. I followed. She stood by the counter. I approached her. I paid the bill and stormed out, ignoring her, as if I never chased her, as if I had come so far only to make that stupid call.
I returned back and stood by my bike. She came out too and started dismounting her bike. What you have decided, you must do. Else, what is your decision for? You are as worthless as your decisions are. You must respect it.
I fumbled towards her, uncertain of how to broach my sentences, where to start, how to start. Once you make up your mind to do something, things fall in places automatically.
“Excuse me, mam!” I paused to gauge her reaction. She looked up on me, and retained her poise on the bike, balancing her astonishment against the weight of the machine. I looked deep into her eyes. Mysterious? …I don’t know…but deep for sure. I continued.
“I am following you from Palasia because I couldn’t keep myself from you beauty. I come to say you that you look unbelievingly…disbelievingly…incredulously beautiful.” I stopped for a while, lowered my gaze to respect what I said and what I had felt…and slowly raised them back up to her eyes that were benignly looking at me, surprised, nonplused…and uttered with torn, departed, gasp, “Thank you.”
She was bewildered. Still for a moment then contorted her lips, made a slight awkward emblem, and then smiled. Her smile was innocent, free from malaise or contempt or mockery. That was plain, pure and pristine. She repeated my last gasp, almost imitating me in rhetoric, “Thank You.” and slid her bike past me and scooted forward.
madiralaya jane ko ghar se, chalta hai peene wala.
‘kis path se jaon?’ asmanjas mein hai wo bhola-bhala,
alag-alag path batlate sab, par main yeh batlata hun,
rah pakad tu ek chala chal, pa jayega madhushala.