Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Girl I Last Kissed...

The background trance music was loud and unsettling. I felt cramped and crammed from within. It seemed like the party was touching its prime. Men and women in bizarre green masks held each other and danced in slow motions. For some reason, my head was on a constant throb. It was like there was a bomb inside ticking. There was a friend with me, which one I could not be sure. He whipped a tall glass of powder green liquid from a passing waitress and handed it to me with a wink. I dropped the glass on seeing baby reptiles crawling out onto my right hand. Walls of the room were also lined with reptile cages. I could not see much in the dimly lit room except these traps that were illuminated in dark green shade.
A strange numbness that comes after millions of needle pricks on your body took over me. I fell down to my knee almost hugging the fake marble floor.  My eyes carried me to across the room, where I saw her. She seemed calm, at home with everything. Her white dress was long and covered her slim body well. Our eyes met and she smiled. Did she remember me from last night?
I wanted to go to her, to touch her, to talk to her but she turned away and I lost her. Sitting on the floor, I wept like a teenager who had been freshly dumped. I wanted my friend to help me and to my utter distraught, he was nowhere. In his place, a person in a giant lizard costume stood. I screamed my loudest and woke up to early morning sweat.

 Air con was breathing life into my dead bedroom.  I pulled away the sheet to allow my sweat to dry. My fists were knotted and my nails had dug into my palms. I sat up, shrugged off a nightmare so real that my reality had seemed like a distant dream. Last night…
Last night flashed before me, when I had met her for the first time. Since then her visage had never left me for a moment. Some faces live with you, forever. I was at ‘Someplace else’, a hangout for guys like me, who would rather be someplace else then currently where they were in their life. A live band was doing their bit at performing covers of English classics. The only part, I had liked in the entire gig was their song selection. ‘Please don’t go’ floated around. Unlike the original, a woman sang the song. I had not cared to turn away from my drink on the deck of the bar to check who was singer at helm.
The dance floor was spilling over with scantily clad women, wrapped around their men friends, mostly colleagues. There was this woman; I had spotted some half an hour before who had my total attention. Yet, I pretend concentrated on the glass shelves opposite me over the bar filled with show cased bottles, mostly wine. I caught my reflection on the mirror frame that bordered it. One could safely call me good looking, if one liked curly hair and down slanted mouth. I wore a formal shirt, open to expose a toned chest. I am six feet plus and carried myself in ‘cotton world’ pants and dark work ties. A voice trainer at Wipro, I had girls coming onto me, for both professional and personal support, which I provided depending on my whims and moods.
I had kind of surprised myself by getting worked up over a girl, a strange girl at that. Never in my entire twenty eight years did my wild side go ballistic, like it was the John of the Jungle over a random girl. Her black kameez looked like it was made by a tailor, who knew all her curves intimately. Her neck line was a deep ‘v’ exposed by her chiffon dupatta that was hugging her neck closely. The tan on her skin seemed from a recent holiday by the sea. Her eyes were set wide apart, giving the impression that she was easy to surprise. Her mouth was arresting, small and full like a ripe plum. 
Like she read my mind, she came straight to the counter beside me and leaned over. She had ordered a Bacardi and insisted on freshly squeezed orange juice to go with it. I could not help smirking and then our eyes met. I had a embarrassed smile to offer and she smiled like we were friends. I saw a slight flicker of recognition or was that my drunken imagination. I allowed myself to hold her gaze more than it was socially decent. She did not seem to mind.
‘You work for Wipro, right?’ She asked.
‘We know each other?’ I came forward as the music was loud and also because I wanted to know if she was wearing any perfume. I liked what my nose picked out but could not place it. It was lemony and very appetizing.
‘Nope, I have seen you at the Wipro café’.
‘You work for Wipro too?’
‘Heck no again, I am next door. We hop over to Wipro’s café during break for awesome pakoda and amazing guys’. She talked naturally and puckered up her mouth in a way that was a cross between a pout and a pucker when I spoke.
‘Thanks that I take as a compliment’. I was animated. She was served her drink. Wonder how the bartender managed freshly squeezed orange juice at that hour. He threw a smile at her and placed her glass neatly on the counter over a napkin.
‘The other day, I saw you getting out of the elevator. You were sand witched like a burger’.
‘Funny but how do you mean?’ I was seriously getting drawn to this one. She turned around and waved at some people sitting around a table to a corner to our left. I put two and two together; she was with a gang of friends and had come over to order a drink. She probably had jealous boyfriend somewhere out there and that should have held me back. It did zilch to my ardor.  
‘Those two girls you were with were soft and round. You were like this beef in between’. She looked at me without any amusement in her beautiful eyes and rested her mouth gently on the glass ring to sip her exotic drink.
‘You are a babe, aren’t you’? My breathing was irregular and I was feeling a little high. I had an urge to drink what she was drinking, to go where she was going and to be with her, generally.
‘Babe? I am just an admirer; you have in your closet’. She was flirting. I turned around to check, if anyone was keeping an eye on her and when I found that her gang had left the table, I leaned over and kissed her. Her pulpy mouth opened in shock reaction, giving me a false sense of response and killed me further.
‘I am sorry, something came over me’, I apologized, ready to accept all the dirt. She stepped away from me. A man came between us. He was short with a face that looked like a rotten potato.
‘You guys know each other’? He asked her casually. He obviously was not a very aware person.
‘Yes’, she covered her alarm better than me. One could easily tell, her friend was rich from the way he dressed, not taking into account the thick gold chain around his fat neck.
‘Good, in that case, let’s invite him for our anniversary. Take his number, will you?’ He patted her lower back, collected his Johnny walker and excused himself within a minute.
‘Your number please, Ashim would like to invite you for a party’, her eyes were casted down and she looked like she had just lost something very precious.  
‘Give me a miss call, that way I get to store your number’. I suggested.
I dictated and she dialed my number. I gave her time in between to press the required buttons. She disconnected soon as my phone responded. I wanted to ask her name to store her number but she was out of there.
I saw her again only in my early morning dream. I took a shower and walked to the cafe, downstairs for coffee and sandwich. It was here, I received a call from a Sub inspector, park street branch police station. He asked me to come straight over. He needed me with respect to an investigating of a young model’s suicide that took place last night. She was all of twenty four and was engaged to be married. I was on the list of suspects. Mine was the last number dialed on Ms Rabia Khan’s cell phone.
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Disclaimer: Picture sourced from Goggle.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


She woke up with tired yet curious eyes. Her mind was like a blank blanket, ready soak in memories. A throb was hammering on the left side of her left eye. She was not sure how long she was awake or how many times she woke up before this. She wanted to lift her hand and press her head.
A woman with a face full of emotions was sitting by her bed. She had a black robe hanging around her: a Burkha just like her friend Zora wore. It was a sign of a Muslim religious woman.  And since her return from Haj, Zora made it a point to wear it. But that was so long back.
Nanda closed her eyes and wished Zora was here. Maybe she was. She called out her friend’s name, which made the woman in the room get up and come forward. The strange woman smelled of jasmine as she hugged her. Her hands were gentle, comforting. Nanda tried to ask questions, unsuccessfully.
A nurse entered the room urgently and injected some medicines into the saline tube attached to her hand. She left the room with instructions to let the patient rest.
The woman with the black robe on her part talked animatedly and looked positively excited. Soon, drowse took over Nanda, and she fell asleep.
She woke up again in the middle of the night. The room was filtered with blue light and looked kind of eerie. Where was she? She had no recollection of her whereabouts. She felt warm and comfortable under the blanket. The place had the smell of a hospital. Nanda saw a woman was sleeping on a sofa beside her bed..
Nanda wanted to sit up but found herself drained of strength. Her head felt like a ton of brick. When she turned her head, her left eye hurt like it had been stabbed a couple of times.
She wondered about the woman on the sofa. Who was this woman? What was she doing there? Was it her friend Zora, for she had the same body proportions and was wearing a Burkha? Nanda could not help but think of Samir, Zora’s brother and the love of her life. Where was he? Was he aware that she was in a hospital? Would he care enough to come visit her?
They had been in love for a long time but he had married a Muslim girl to please his family. On days like this she wished, she had him by her side. But there was no way that was possible. Their respective families had made it clear; they would never accept the difference in their religion.
Nanda found herself crying. Tears spilled out of her eyes and her left eye burnt like someone had poured acid in it. She tried to sleep and found it the easiest thing to do.
Nanda heard the noises first and opened her eyes next, to find five people surrounding her. Her first impression was of shock. Where was she? Who were these people? There were two girls, who wore white uniform and looked like nurses.
There was a woman wearing a Burkha, who had the kindest of faces. She was the first one to take notice of her and came forward. A clear affectionate face, which had multiple concerned lines. However, she was most definitely not Zora, her childhood friend, who too wore a similar black robe.
‘Noor, how are you, beta?’ She ruffled her hair and kissed her cheek. She did not wait for her to reply instead turned around to hug the other two in the room. She was chanting a prayer in Urdu and went to a corner of the Spartan room to roll out a mat to do her Namaz.
The two men she hugged were obviously her relatives. The older one smiled through his tears. He came forward and took her hand in his.
‘Noor, you had us worried. Thank Almighty God for keeping you safe. Your mother almost died with shock’.
Nanda immediately liked the man even though she was not sure what he was saying and why he was addressing her as Noor.
‘Noor Apa, so happy to see you doing fine. You have been sleeping like for two days, now. I almost asked Sanjay bhaiya to come and kiss his sleeping beauty, good morning. He is on his way’.
Nanda realized, she was perhaps in some kind of an accident. That did not worry her, what bothered her was, who was this Noor? Why everyone thought she was her.
 ‘What happened to me’? She asked uncertainly. The woman, who acted like she was her Mom, was done with her prayers. She came forward to bless her.
‘Oh, you don’t remember your accident, do you? You crashed your car’.
‘Oh…’ Nanda had no recollection of ever driving a car. She did not know anyone who owned a car.
‘You wanted to surprise Sanjay Bhaiya. He was out on a tour for a week’. The young boy had settle on the sofa next to his Dad.
‘You hit your head hard on the steering wheel and fainted. We were so worried for last two days’. The man was supposedly her father, the woman her mother and the young boy was her brother. But she could not believe she was married to some Sanjay. There was no way she could love anyone except Samir. And then a tall man in his late twenties, who had the most adorable eyes walked in. It was her Samir.
‘Sanjay bhaiya, your sleeping princess of a wife woke up before the kiss’. The teenager joked.
‘Noor is no sleeping princess. Ours is a modern love story, where a Hindu boy married
a Muslim girl, against all’. Sanjay parked his bag on the side table, wished everyone and came to Nanda’a side.
‘How are you, my patient’? He held her hand and put his lips to it.
‘I am good, Samir’. Nanda said. She was surprised that she was a Muslim girl and Samir was a Hindu boy. However, they seem to be happily married. At times, dreams take multiple births to come true.
‘You called me, Samir?’ He asked with quizzical eyes beaming with love.
‘What’s in a name?’ Noor replied with a wide smile.