Sunday, December 30, 2007

The prostitute

He looked out of the window, lying in the bed. His naked body could feel the morning puff of air. The window curtains waved in whichever direction the air chose, as if dancing for the sun’s arrival. He felt a smile on his face. After staring for some time at the view outside the window, he found that the view could be explored more if he could take the trouble of getting out of the bed and walk a little towards the window. He did so.

By this time sun was out in sky. Open. Full. Orange. He did not remember - when was the last time he got up that early in the morning? And even harder to remember was - when was the last time, he cared to look at the sun?

He said aloud, addressing no one in particular, “I don’t understand why poets and writers have always written about moon’s beauty, even after it has so many dark patches. Why does nobody find this flawless, red object, worthy enough to be their subject? After all sun is not that bad. In fact, I find it beautiful.” He turned to her. She was smiling.

She was watching him all the while. She felt happy to see him so relaxed. She thought of last night.

They had met, for the first time. He - a bachelor in his late twenties, a project manager in a software company. She - a flowering beauty in her early twenties, a prostitute by profession. He had asked her, “how many men… before me?”

“This is my profession, sir. I am into it for last two years and have to earn my bread everyday, or rather every night. Actually today is my business’ second anniversary.”

“Two years means seven hundred and thirty days, so approximately the same number of men. Out of them, did you like someone particularly; someone whom you wished would have come back to you?”

“The seller does not choose the buyer, sir. It’s the buyers who choose the seller. Yes, we do have repeat customers. But it’s not our choice that matters. It’s theirs. ”

“Did someone ever try to rape you?” he was shocked with his own question and wished if he could take it back.

“No, I do it by choice.”

The simplicity with which she had said this, made the situation worse for him. He could feel what she actually meant. She meant, “What else do you think happen everyday?”

“Well, I am called Saurabh. Saurabh Saxena.”

“But the agent told me your name is…” She had laughed aloud and then said, “You feared that someone will get to know that you spent this night with a prostitute!! By the way, I am called Shilpa. And that’s my full name.”

He had felt disgusted by the exposure of his reason of name change. He had found himself saying things which didn’t mean much. He had said, “Do you wish to get fresh? Wanna have a bath or something?”

“Yes.” And after a pause, she had asked, “Do you want me to come out naked or should I be wearing something?”

He did not know what to say. He could barely murmur, “Well, whatever you wish like… it would be better if you come out in some dress.” And he had handed her a towel and a men’s evening gown.


It was two hours past midnight. The hotel room was lighted by the city lights outside the large windows and a small lamp, kept in a corner of the room. He was lying on the bed, staring at the fan. She was sitting at an easily reachable distance, at the other corner of the bed. They held some short conversations in middle of their silence, conversations where the topics in the previous had no relation to the one that followed. They talked about almost everything – his girlfriend, who never allowed him to kiss even and then left him quoting his impotency as the reason; her first customer, who had hairs in the most impossible parts of his body; his friends, who would never get to know that he spent his night with a prostitute; her friends, who knew every detail of the man she slept with; his food habits, her not having any habits, his job, her job and so on. But still at the end of the conversation they felt they talked about nothing.

He said, “You can sleep if you are tired.”

“Don’t you want to have sex with me?”

“I… I don’t know….”

“What you don’t know?”

“I have never done this before. I really don’t know.”

“It’s okay. Do the way you think you should. There’s no competition here. You won’t get a prize if you do it the best way. And trust me, there’s no best way.”

He wondered – How can someone talk about sex, so glibly, so effortlessly?

She took his hands in her, and kissed them. Only if he would have been kissed before, he could tell this was the most preposterous and false kiss he ever had. But he had none such experience so he was okay with whatever he got.

She got up and moved towards the window. Her naked body projected an ultimate silhouette against the moonlight. Looking at the moon, she said, “It’s beautiful,” then turned to him. He was still looking at the fan, lost in his own world. She sensed a deep loneliness in his behavior. She thought, “He is not here for what we assume we are here for.” and asked, “What do you think, am I beautiful?”

“Yes. Why?”

“Like Aishwarya Rai?”

“More than her.”

She laughed aloud.

He got up and took her back to the bed. They kissed each other.

This was the night he lost his virginity and she had serviced her seven hundred and thirty first customer.

When she got up in the morning, she found him standing by the window.

“So what do you think? Which is more beautiful – the sun or the moon?”

“Whichever can survive without being a parasite.”

He gazed at her for some time. But said nothing.

He left first. She did after him. While switching off the lights, she found some money kept at the near-by table with the intention of being noticed. She thought, “Why the thought of money did not appear to me for whole of the time he was here?” She found no answer.


It must have been around four, in after hours of the noon. Shilpa heard the announcement for the next local from Andheri to Churchgate, while standing in the ticket queue. She cursed herself for forgetting the monthly pass at home. When she arrived at the platform, the train was about to leave. She could, no way, reach women’s compartment hence she got into the general compartment. Being the non office hours, and the train in the reverse direction, the compartment wasn’t very crowded. She made her way inside. She wasn’t looking beautiful, not at least the way she had looked two years ago. But still she found that every men around was gazing at her. When the train stopped at Dadar, a man behind her asked her for way. She moved a side, looking downwards. Suddenly she realized the voice to be familiar. She looked up while the man was crossing her. They saw each other in that moment. It was a look of acknowledging the recognition. She had always wished to meet him somehow, somewhere. But this way, and at this place? None of them could move out of that frame of moment. The train stopped and started again towards its next destination.

By the time it reached Marine lines, the train was almost empty. They were sitting facing each other. Saurabh asked, “Shall we get down here?”

She said nothing. Just got up and moved towards the door. He followed. They walked up to the Marine drive, silently. It happens when you meet someone after a long time and you think you have too many things to talk about, but you know there’s too little a time. You really can’t figure out where to start from, what all to talk about and what all you can avoid, who shall start first, and such things. And the desperation of every passing moment, that you assume is getting wasted without your word, makes you more restless. Something similar was happening to them.

By the time they reached the sea, the sun was about to fade in. She asked, “Do you remember your beautiful sun?”

“I do.”

“Does it still appear beautiful to you?”

“It does.”

This was followed by a short moment of silence which, in the shortness of the total time they assumed they had together, appeared quite long.

He asked, “How life has been in all these days… or rather years?”

“Good.” And then she added, “how about you?”


Both of them looked away from each other, towards the setting sun. It was Orange, full but somehow did not appear open.

“How many men… after me?”

She smiled. He went on, “well, you can ask me the same question. And I don’t mind. I slept with another ten, or say fifteen women, after you. Don’t remember the exact count.”

They sat quietly. Sun was almost down and it was getting dark. Street lights were trying hard to match up to the sun but what a frustration it would be that they could not even stand up to a setting sun!!

“I think I should leave. Getting late.”

“Ok.” Saurabh looked at her with a question on his face; a question which was already asked and which was yet to be answered.

“Bye,” She said and walked on. Then she stopped, turned back and walked up to him. She took out a bundle of currency notes and kept at his side. It was the same bundle she picked up from the table when he was gone that day. She said, “If I agree to sleep with you tonight, you will be the first person… after you.” She said it very simply. Without contempt. Without anger. Without remorse. Just in a mood of an easy answer.

He said, “I am sorry.”


She stood still, looking straight into his eyes. “Sun is always more beautiful, Saurabh. They can’t give you what you are looking for. I never did to any man I slept with. I hope you understand that you didn’t come to me that night for sex. Tell me, do you respect any of the women you sleep with? If not, then how do you expect that such women can give your self respect back? What you are looking for can only be obtained by the purpose of your own life, the reason of your own being. It’s not the survival that matters but the reason for the survival. I learnt it the night I met you… By the way, I am Ms. Shilpa, Customer Care Executive at Maya Outsourcing Services.”

He looked at her with a question mark on his face but said nothing. She responded to his look. She questioned, “Inquisitive to know why I left that profession?” After a small pause, she replied herself, “That day, I realized that I wasn’t surviving on my strengths but on the weaknesses of the people like you. The weaker the client was, higher I got paid. I was selling you hunger to satisfy my own. Just that we were hungry for different things. I was selling you lust to fill in my moneybag. I was selling you desire to make you a repeat customer. The point is - everything I sold was yours anyway! A trade involves exchange of values. I offered no value for the money you paid. I was not doing business; it was just a cheat plan. And the body? Oh! It was just a tool to disguise the cheat. Sex has to be a derivative of love, Saurabh; else it’s just another wasted activity.”

She smiled and turned away. It was a happy smile. No irony, no wickedness. No pity, no sympathy. Just a plain, happy smile. She called for a taxi and went off. Saurabh turned to the sea. He closed his eyes tightly. He could hear her voice against the sound of the water. He asked to himself, “Who is a prostitute?”

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Brunch with Birds

I have never been an avid bird lover (May be, the thought of not having chicken to eat drifts me away from such love stories!!). But I nominated myself for the program called ‘Brunch with Birds’; more for the brunch than the birds, and the thought of getting into the Film city.

On Saturday night Sujal called and we decided to meet at Dadar at 6:15 AM as we had to reach the film city gate, Goregaon by 7:30 AM (Hello!!!! It was Sunday morning of a software engineer!!!). The BNHS bus was arranged to pick the participants from there to the venue. Anyways. We started late and we reached late. Rama also joined us on the way. As it was very clear that we would have missed the bus if we hoped to get it, we took an auto rickshaw. Unaware of the venue, we somehow reached it after halting and asking at every gate (however few they were) in side the film city. On arrival at the center, we were informed that Neemita had already collected our passes and we happily got seated in the auditorium where the introduction was about to start.

The program started with an introductory session by Dr Subhalakshmi. She briefed us about Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and all the Why’s, what’s, who’s, Where’s and When’s about it. It was followed by a short movie on birds. It appeared to me like any other national geographic program viewed on a bigger screen, and I was wondering – Birds are beautiful creatures, except pigeons, I suppose (Trust me, its very irritating when they reside in your house without your permission and behave as if they are the landlords). After the movie, our bird watching session was scheduled. All the participants were first divided into two major groups, Adults and children. I was in the adults group, so were my other TCS colleaguesJ. We were further divided into various groups. Each group was escorted by two volunteers from BNHS. From auditorium, we moved to the bird watching venue.

It was a kind of forest. On the way, our leaders tried hard to make us see some birds and my group members did see some. I could only see crows, a big, giant scorpion and an equally big butterfly. They told about n-number of birds, their names and its origin, their calls, their habitat and what not but I have a bad memory. But I loved the jungle. What peace, man!! I was in middle of this noisy city and still I felt like meditating. The best was when we reached a small hill top. Beautiful it was. I asked the instructor if we could come and roam around in the jungle whenever we wish. He informed me that we need to take permission from forest department which sits in BoriwaliJ. From there, we returned to the BNHS building where we were served with the brunch. This was followed by a session by a scientist from BNHS about the endangered bird species.

After my ILP@TCS in January, it was the first lecture I attended this year. And it was boring to me till a bird genius ignited my interest in the class. He must have been a student of class VIII or IX, I guess. But what knowledge he had about birds!!! Simply superb. For all the questions the man on the dais popped up, he had the answers and something more to offer in response. By middle of the lecture, we could see our lecturer was getting bugged a bit, but he managed to keep his calm. Towards the end of the lecture, everybody murmured to everybody else around that the boy was a genius when it comes to the knowledge of birds and he could better take the class. And the class was happily concluded. Happy I was - to discover that we do have such children in India and, of course, for the reason that the class was over.

From here we were taken to a series of stalls, where they talked on different topics on birds ranging from their habitat, migration practices, bird calls, and environmental issues and how they affect the birds. All this was followed by a quiz on the days learning and luckily, we TCSers were in the group which was destined to win as we had a leader with a solid interest in birds ( she was very sad by the rapid growth in mobile industry as she learnt that the mobile signals are harmful for birds. Also, she was curious to know the ways by which she could attract a particular kind of bird to her terrace!!). So we won.

The event was summed up by a conclusive talk by Dr Subhalakshmi and a show by the volunteers of ‘Save Ranibaug’ cause.

Now, the question is did I waste my half Sunday not being a hardcore bird lover? I must say, it’s not about the birds that I learnt that day, but about human beings. There was this eighty plus lady, a retired physician, talking passionately about bird migration; a woman in her seventies, a practicing doctor, wished sincerely to save Ranibaug from getting converted into a modern city center by demolishing the natural beauty of the place; a full time bird scientist who has dedicated his life to birds and working on balancing the environment so that we all can coexist and recently trying to protect the Sewri area in Mumbai for Flamingoes; a professional who volunteered to spend her weekends for such bird awareness programs and many more such examples. The common thread? The passion towards a mission they have taken up in life. And that’s what I learnt, or rather re-learnt, that day.

And, indeed, I did get to see some television stars being shot on the way back to the city :)

Friday, October 26, 2007


“January 7th, 2005: Mumbai - Mrs. Pallavi Mehta, wife of a businessman, Mr. Vinay Mehta, from western suburbs, Mumbai is found dead. The matter was reported by the maid of the house early morning, yesterday. She also informed the police that Mr. Mehta was off to Delhi on some business trip for around two weeks now,” reported the Hindustan Samachar, a Hindi daily, on its second page.

Sandeep read the news and laughed. He stared for long at the photograph of Mrs. Mehta, the paper had published. It was a party photograph of Mehta’s. He said in an indecently loud voice, “You are beautiful.”

He felt happy; but he told himself that this was such news which was not meant to generate happiness, except in the minds of sadists. And was he a sadist? He shrugged the thought and folded the paper to put it on the table where all other papers were lying.

Sandeep was a graduate in Science. He tried hard to get a descent job in his city, Gorakhpur, but when he could not, came to Mumbai. After his parents demise, probably in short of responsibilities, he started settling down with his current job, minimizing the ambitions of increasing the numbers of zeros in his pay check. And why not? After all it was a nice business of fixing the bathroom issues of some high society homes during the hours the men of the family worked in offices and women- mostly, not always though- stayed back home. Beautiful, ugly, miss-India-types, spinsters, fat aunties, College girls. All kind of women. In a way he loved his job and was famous as the best plumber with the Homecare, the housekeeping company. He led a complete carefree life, enjoying every moment of his freedom in this city.

The only thing he used to get pissed off at was when somebody used “Bhaiya” to associate his origin to Uttar Pradesh, a northern state of India. In his homeland, this word held a respect, a dignity with it and was used for elder brothers. But here, in Mumbai, it was a derogatory remark.

* * *

Mrs. Mehta was a baby faced, ever smiling woman. She had recently celebrated her second marriage anniversary. Mehta’s did not have children. Mr. Mehta believed that his income wasn’t sufficient to support a new life. So they had to wait.

Mr. Mehta had gone to Delhi for some business engagement for two weeks. One evening, he got a call from Mumbai Police telling that his wife was found dead in his house and he was needed back in town as soon as possible. He took the next flight back home.

The postmortem report informed that Mrs. Mehta had been poisoned. It posed an equal possibility of this being a murder or a suicide case. For the next two months, the police tried hard to probe into the case. The maid and Mr. Mehta were the only two suspects, if it was to be a murder. Mr. Mehta found lesser support as he was reported not to be on good terms with his wife by the neighbors and Mrs. Mehta’s parents.

* * *

“March 3rd, 2005: Mumbai – Mrs. Pallavi Mehta Death case. The Mumbai Police has declared this to be a case of suicide, the cause of which remains unidentified. The news of Mrs. Mehta’s death was first reported by Hindustan Samachar,” reported the paper.

Sandeep read it. But this time, neither he could laugh, nor feel happy. Rather he felt a pang in his heart. He had been in a different world for last two months.

Mr. Mehta was happily acquitted. For the entire period of the trial, the case appeared seven times in the news paper; three times in the first week, rest three in the following three weeks and the last on the day of the police declaration. On all days, to everybody’s ignorance at the Homecare, the reports were articulately removed from the newspaper.

The Manager at Home care called for Sandeep. He was supposed to go to a high rise building in Andheri (E) to fix up their water pipe problem. He then left for the day’s job.

“To travel by road in Mumbai is hell in peak hours, that too in an area like Sakinaka,” Sandeep said to himself, sitting in the BEST bus. He was looking outside the window particularly at nothing, generally at everything that passed his sight. A thought crossed his mind and he smiled to himself.

“There are times when your own nakedness doesn’t appear absurd to you. Rather it appears perfect. Perfect to the need of the moment. And that was such a moment.” He thought of the last afternoon he had made love with her.

They were standing, facing each other - his hands on her waist, looking into each others eyes. She allowed the masculinity of his palms to challenge the femininity of her hips. He, then, moved his rough, worker’s hands along her line of spine up to her nape, caressing in a way that she felt tickled and scratched at the same time. He lifted her face, kissed her gently and moved his left hand to hold the web of her ribs on the left. Then, with a sudden reflex he turned her, lifted up and put her, with a great care, onto the bed. He whispered into her ears, “You are beautiful,” to which she replied with a smile. Oh, what a divine smile that was!

The bus was caught in a traffic jam. So was Sandeep. On the memory lanes of the life he had just lived.

She had once told Sandeep, lying naked by his side on her bed, “A man should be a man. And when he is, he becomes a god to a woman whose bodily desires remain unsatisfied. Then the face, the status, the caste, creed, color, etc, etc doesn’t matter. What matters is his Manliness.”

He wasn’t the best looking guy around. His face was like any other walker on the street but the faultlessness of his body could make any woman desirous. He was never a professional gigolo. Neither had he cared to seduce any woman. Just a few smiles to make his plumbing job easier, rest he remained carefree. To some woman this carefree attitude of a man impresses. At least it did to her.

Sandeep remembered his first meeting with her.

That day, he had arrived to fix a tap in the bathroom at Mehta’s. He was wearing blue denim jeans, a leather sandals and a half sleeves shirt, with the top two buttons open, which clearly said the fact that he wasn’t wearing any under vest and had a hairless chest.

She stood by the door, in her night gown, while he was fixing the tap.

Of whole of his body, the only parts she was aware were the solid, hairless forearms, a part of the biceps which got into shape when ever he moved his arms and a slight of his chest. But then she never needed anything else, at least in that moment of time. She noticed some drops of sweat on his forehead which started dripping down by the side of his ears and finally dropped on his hands, realizing which he tried to wipe them off. She took a deep sigh and said to herself, “Oh, My god! How can a drop of sweat make a man so handsome?”

He was called again a day after to fix the same tap. And since then, he was called day after day to display the dexterity of plumbing wherever he could, in the whole apartment. And then one day he found himself on the bed of Mehta’s.

Many such afternoons passed. One afternoon when they were done with their act of love making and he was about to leave, the call bell rang. When Mrs. Mehta opened the door, she found her husband standing next. Horror and shock combined can make the most beautiful woman look the ugliest of the species; she was just an average looking housewife.

Mr. Mehta answered the question which was suppose to be asked by Mrs. Mehta but was displaced by a horrific silence, “I wasn’t feeling well. Thought will have some rest.” He walked in. He found Sandeep at the door of his bedroom. Mrs. Mehta hurriedly followed Mr. Mehta, who then asked, “Who is he?”

“He… He is a plumber. I called up to get the bathroom leakage fixed. They sent this bhaiya.” The introduction was given in a manner which appeared good enough to the speaker but was the ugliest to the person being introduced.

Mr. Mehta asked Sandeep, “Where are you from?”


“I didn’t ask that mister. That I already got to know. A bhaiya is always from UP. I meant which company?”


“Get me the bill. Will pay you.”

Bill? He could not give a bill. He wasn’t called from office. He was here on a personal service. And what service? What should Mr. Mehta be charged for? And for how many afternoons?

“I forgot the bill book. Will send you from office. You can pay later.”

During all his conversation, Sandeep never looked at Mrs. Mehta. But when he left, he smiled without giving any particular look. That was their last afternoon together.

Mr. Mehta did understand what was being fixed and where, when he looked at his bed. But he said nothing. Never, till the day had Mrs. Mehta died.

* * *

What could be the intensity of the insult received post a love making session by an enforced realization to the person of his status in the society? By making some one feel that he is a ‘bhaiya’ who was momentarily allowed to enter into a high society life and hence it was supposed to be taken as an honor?

The size of the insult? Large, Medium, small? This can be decided only by the person on whom the insult is imposed. The world’s limits end at the act of the imposition; after that it’s only the receiver’s prerogative to decide how badly he feels insulted and what kind of settlement he is going to have for it, forgiveness or revenge? Whatever.

Sandeep chose the later option. He took revenge.

Mrs. Mehta could not look up in her husband’s eyes. She tried hard to let days pass. She thought, “Time is a great healer. Things will settle down.” But things didn’t. She could not stand the silence of her husband. Neither could she stand the noise of her physical desires.

She called Sandeep on many days after that day. He mostly avoided the calls; if ever received, he declined her persuasions, her offerings, her apologies and what ever she offered to have him back. He knew that if he meets her she will have a chance to forget the otherwise unforgettable guilt she was living in, at least for those moments that they would be together. He did not wish to give her such chance.

So what could be the intensity of the affront confronted by the rejection of a sexual advancement made by a high class socialite, by some one of his status? All right, she wasn’t from that high a society, but a rejection coming from… say… A Bhaiya!!!

Was it an insult or a murder of the desire? The guilt or the fear? These all are quite dangerous instruments, good enough to kill, or at least nearly kill a person.

But he used all of them, together. He created a weapon of massive destruction.

He forced her to live a life of a woman who lived with a continuous guilt of infidelity towards her husband, a permanent fear of shamed to the society where she was respected for none of her own virtue, a ruthless murder of her physical desire and an insult of her ego - which was based on the emptiness of her social and economical status, by the same desire. He forced her into a continuous battle of her existence versus numerous emotions. Emotions that held strong contrast against each other. Emotions, that pulled her apart in different directions. Who could survive such contradictions? Who could stop the rupturing of the psyche in such a state? Which was more dangerous – The destruction of the body or that of the mind? For her, the first would have been easier to take, probably.

When Mr. Mehta informed her that he was leaving for Delhi for two weeks, the first thought that crossed her mind was of Sandeep. She called him in afternoon. After missing several calls, he finally received one.

“Please come. I just can’t live like this. I need you.”


“You know that I love you, don’t you?”

“You don’t, Pallavi.”

Sandeep disconnected the call. Next to next day, he read in the newspaper that she was dead.

Even though she killed herself, he planned her death. But no one would ever get to know this. No law could prove this. No court could punish him.

The bus had arrived at the stop he had to get down. He walked up the housing society he was to report. He tried finishing his job faster. There was certain uneasiness in his mood today. He declined further assignments for the day and went home.

Reaching home, he undressed himself and fell on the bed, naked. He thought of her. At this moment he found his nudity absurd and vulgar. Her thought made him uncomfortable about his own body. He felt as if his existence was maimed by her absence. What was stronger – guilt of the murder or the acknowledgement of his physical needs, pain of the lost love or the void created by a lost relationship? He did not understand. He pulled up a sheet, up to his face. He found himself crying under the sheet.

A week later, on a bright sunny day, Sandeep was found dead in his house. When people entered inside his room, they found his naked body wrapped under a clean sheet. The room looked clean, as if was prepared for a guest. Only some newspaper cuttings were lying around the bed.

His own weapons had boomeranged upon him.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Songs of loneliness...

“Can you write a song about loneliness?” asked the producer.

“What kind of loneliness?” The poet asked back, enforcing absurdness in the environment. The producer had a big question mark on his face as if he wished to ask – What the hell do you mean by kind of loneliness? But he didn’t ask and said, simply, “Loneliness is loneliness. Simple. Plain.”

“A hopeful or a hopeless one? A happy or a sad one? A desired or an imposed one? A bored one or a creative one? Loneliness caused when the world leaves you? Or the loneliness caused when you part with your soul?” The poet elaborated his question ignoring the answer as if it was never offered.

Now the puzzled look on the producer’s face was turning into annoyance which he successful hid.

The poet went on, “When the world leaves me, I can hope that someday it will return; it will revoke its imposition. I can be happy if I try to be, if I realize that no one’s but my own company is all I need to lead a happy life. That’s hopeful loneliness – An optimistic idea. When I sell my soul, I buy lifetime loneliness. And how long can I sustain without my own soul, my own spirit? How can I kill the permanent sadness it breeds? That’s hopeless loneliness – A pessimistic reality.” He paused to study the listener’s mind, and continued, “If one parts with the world to be with his soul, that’s fantastic. If he part with his soul to be with the world, he is the loneliest person in the crowd… So what you want?”

By now, the producer was totally irritated. He said. “Look Mister… What ever your name is! I don’t understand what all shit you are talking about. I am producing an album with all genres of emotions and thought if we could have a song on loneliness - A simple, sweet song. But it seems, for you, loneliness is a fairly complex emotional state than it appears to me. And in such case, I would not like to use any of your rubbish philosophical poetry. You can please leave.”

“Thank you, sir. You saved me.”

The poet left. The producer did not understand why he was thanked, but he was feeling better. He called in the manager.

“What kind of people you invite these days for the interview?”

“Why? What happened, sir?”

“Damn!! This guy is a bastard who makes every thing complex and thinks he is a genius.”

“I am sorry, sir. But he was recommended by a friend of mine who is a culture critic in The Indian magazine, the best Indian daily. Besides, I read his poems. I did not understand much, but they appeared to be good. Also, this guy needed a job so…”

“We are here, not for charity, my dear manager. We are doing business with a sole reason of making profit, and that can’t be achieved with something that just appears to be good. Please keep this in mind before you call for the next guy. Ok?”

“Yes, sir.”

“You can leave.”

The producer released his album after two months. It could only become an average album, generating too little profit. It did have a song on loneliness.

A year passed since then. It was a sunny Sunday morning. While going through the various segments of The Indian magazine, the producer found one man omnipresent. His name was Aftab Khan.

“The nation goes crazy over Mr. Aftab Khan,” reported the front page.

“Aftab Khan – A real gem in the world of Indian poetry,” said the culture column.

“A good product always generates good business. This has been proved, once again, by Mr. Aftab Khan,” informed the business page.

“I felt like committing suicide while listening to the first song but the second song made me the happiest person on earth. Thank you, Aftab,” a bachelor, in his early thirties, said in the city column.

And the page three was full of the functions organized to felicitate Aftab for his first album. The album was named ‘Loneliness’. It had just two songs, first – The Pessimist, second – The Optimist.

The producer phoned the manager.

“Why I never heard of this guy, named Aftab, before?”

“You did, sir. Some twelve months ago.”


“And you said, ‘This guy is a bastard who makes every thing complex and thinks he is a genius.’”


The producer hung up the call.

In one of those countless page three parties, the producer happened to meet Aftab, who looked quite bored and a bit uncomfortable. The producer approached him, “Hello, Mr. Aftab. I am very sorry for that day. I tell you I was in a real bad mood. You know how hectic the job of a producer is. Please accept my apologies.” And he grinned like a kid who has committed a silly mistake and waiting to be forgiven by his mother.

“Which day?”
“Oh! The day we had a chat over the matters of loneliness.”

“Have we met? Oh, please excuse me. I have a really bad memory. Yesterday I forgot to put on my socks and came like that to the party. I was so embarrassed that I made a point to take care of it today.” Aftab pulled up his pants to show the socks with a feeling of achievement over his forgetfulness. He had black in left and brown in right feet. The producer wished to laugh but avoided.

Aftab was embarrassed again. To change the topic, he asked, “By the way, what were we talking about?”

“We were talking about the day we first met, sir. You narrated your concept of loneliness a year ago. What a wonderful concept it is. Unfortunately we could not do the album together, then, for some technical reasons. But I would love to work with you the next time you are ready with your concept. I give an absolute freedom to an artist’s creativity.”

“I think, I can recall that day, sir.” Aftab smiled, letting the producer feel ashamed of the fact that he tried to use one’s forgetfulness to his own profit, and continued, “To detail is not to increase the complexity of a concept. It is to make things clearer, more accurate, more absolute. Good that you said no that day. Its better not to create something whose use you don’t understand, to produce something whose meaning remains a vague concept to you.”

“But we are the best in this business. I suggest you should take up our offer.”


“We will make you richer.”

“And that is what your business is - to make money. I am sorry; I am not motivated by money. My only motivation is my work. You may be great in the business of selling poetry but you are a handicap when it comes to producing a right creation. And what is the purpose of a good seller if there is no good object to sell?” he said, in such a toneless manner that the producer could not feel offended how hard he wished to.

Aftab smiled and turned to the party. He looked around to find a person who was least hypocrite in the whole gathering and he saw a kid sitting on a bench near the fountain, lost in falls of water. He walked up to him, smiled and said, “Hello”. The kid smiled back.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The blue Umbrella

One Saturday evening we had nothing much to do; hence we decided to go for a movie. When we tried we could only get the tickets for this movie called The Blue Umbrella.

On first thoughts it looks like a children’s movie but if seen with a thought, it tells a deep story - a story of generic human behaviors, of desires to own something we like, something which symbolize our status in the society we live in. It beautifully depicts how something which is a simple appreciation of beauty for someone can be a fanatical greed for the other.

While watching the movie some questions popped up in my mind -
Did I ever feel like owning something which is of no great use to me but brings in certain pride associated with it? I did.
Were I ever so compelled by the desire that I even didn’t shrug off a negative emotion (theft… murder… cheating), if I perceived that as the only way to get it? Sometimes, that happened too.

What I realize is, in the whole process of collecting things through out our life, we forget the reason. We randomly buy things that we rarely need in life. If ever questioned, we counter question to justify our unreasonable acquisitions. (When Khatri was asked by his subject, why he wants the umbrella so desperately, he uses some very random questions as his points for justification.) At last our life is recognized more by our possessions than the soul within. Most of the time, this soul is killed, murdered, sold or lost. But can someone ever live truly happily without a soul? When happiness is a derivative of social recognition and that too for something that we did not create but just possess by the virtue of all the money we hold, it has to be short lived.

One’s desire to own should be driven by the need for a beautiful life and not for the purpose of vanity. When ever we feel like having something, if we ask ourselves - why do you want it, we will realize that there are thousand such things that we want for sheer display than use. There will be things which are useful but we don’t want it for the use but the status it carries along for us. That’s where the error lies.

The way story progresses is the most beautiful part of it - From the unreasonable desire of possession to jealousy, and from jealousy to crime (theft), from crime to the punishment for the crime, from the punishment to realization of guilt, and from guilt, it end into forgiveness and restoration of self-pride.

The movie scores a hit on almost every account of film making; be it cinematography, casting, characterization, sound, script, dialogues and acting.

In these rains, I must say, Blue Umbrella is for everyone.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Confessions of a sad mind

“Look, darling, my new ring. Sweet, isn’t it?” she said and pretended a childish enthusiasm.

He stared at the ring for some time and said, “You are not sweet. You are a slut.”

He appeared as calm and composed as he was on the day he declared that he loved her. They were silent for a long time for their own reasons. Then she almost shouted, “Why the hell it’s like when a man sleeps around, he is called a Dude; but when a woman does, she is called a Slut?”

She was looking at him, waiting for an answer. He didn’t say anything but gave a meek smile. Then she explained herself, “Because, it’s a man’s world. Because a man’s ego is always bigger than a woman’s feeling. Because you, men, feel insulted with the thought of a woman playing on you. And that’s what makes me happy – the insult imposed upon the man in you.”

She felt relaxed a bit after all the reasoning but still wanted to hear from him. He was still staring into her eyes. Her eyes were looking for an answer into his and then they turned weaker.

He got up; moved towards the door. He was ready to leave but returned a few steps. His one hand was in his trouser pocket and the other above the shoulders, holding a leather jacket. He was standing in his usual relaxed posture.

“May be, because man pays for the nights in one or the other way when he plays around but when you play, the payee is still the man.”

He stared for longer than required and, then, left her to the wilderness of the statement he just made. She wanted to reach out to him, hold him and give him a tight slap.
But she could not.
She could not move.
She could not move away from the wilderness of the statement he just made.

It was her fourth break up; his first and last. He never fell in love again because he could never come out of it.

A year had passed since then. One day, Prashant saw Radhika, sitting in the same café as he did, with some guy who looked quite older than her. He smiled. After a while, the guy left; Radhika was still there, all immersed in her thoughts. She had an unusual smile on her face.

Prashant walked up to her. When she saw him, she pretended neither surprise nor shock. It felt as if she was waiting for him. He said, “You remember the count?”
“Oh! Yes, I do. He was the seventh.”
“Yeah! We just broke up.”
“Thank you. And I mean it as I take your wish in a real sense.” She paused, and then said, “I am happy.”
“I know you are. Once again you have insulted the Man, isn’t it?” he smirked.
“You are correct. But only partly.”

There was a long silence. She played with the wine glass for sometime. He sat. Just that, and did nothing else. She looked up, up into his eyes. The gaze was direct like a sharpshooter’s. She said, “Whenever my father sleeps with another woman, I break up with my boyfriend. I feel that’s the only way I can take my revenge against my dad; that’s the only way I can look into my mom’s eyes. And whenever I see her, I see pain smiling and dancing and celebrating its existence. You know why?”

Prashant was not here, at least, mentally. He was thinking about the night they separated.

Radhika, in her usual way, replied her own question, “Because men can only pay but suffering is mostly credited to women’s account. And if ever men suffer, they make it hysterical and then historical. But women’s suffering is coated with a beautiful silence and wrapped into umpteen numbers of fake smiles and empty laughter. To understand that, you’ll have to meet my mom.” She was looking for an expression; He did not react. She thought, “Men will always be men.” She said, “I shall leave now. It’s late already.”

“Do you mind if I accompany you to the bus stop?”

She shrugged with indifference. They walked all the way in silence. The bus stop was almost empty if the thin, old man can be ignored. They stood resting their back on the side bar of the stand.

After an unusually long silence, Prashant asked, “Are you really happy?”

“Why? Of course!! I love it when my ex-boyfriends plead me to return, when they say they can’t live without me. Some did, some still do; except you. But that doesn’t matter much. By the way what makes you ask such a question?”

The question was followed by a pause; and then an abrupt out-of-no-where statement.

“Please come back, Radhika. I can’t live without you.”

Radhika displayed an utter melancholic solemnity.

She asked, “Why…..? Why you say this now, after almost a year?”

He questioned back in his reply, “That makes you happy, right?”

She burst into tears.

Prashant thought: If a person is physically sick one can force him/her to get cured. But for her, it’s her psychological state that is diseased. How can one medicate the psyche without the consent of the patient? And what kind of logic can a diseased psyche formulate to give its consent for a right cause?

He felt something similar to the doctor who helplessly sees a patient dying in front of him in short of an invention of a proper medication for some ridiculous disease.

“Radhika, I remember what you said that night. I wanted to tell you too many things but…” He paused and then continued with the same spirit, “It’s not a men’s world, Radhika. Men don’t rule. They are offered the rule, if at all they rule; like the poor does to rich, the weak to powerful, and the minority to majority. Because they think they cannot fight. They fear they are too small, too weak against the opponent. When one surrenders before the battle begins, it’s not the power of the other party, not their cunningness, not their strategies, nothing in their virtue which makes them a winner, but the loser’s own fear.”

“I don’t fear that bastard. I just hate him. I hate him with the same intensity with which I love my mom.”

“It was fear. Then it graduated to become hatred. Now the subject you are mastering in is Revenge. You are on a revenge spree against your father, the man; but you do not realize that in all this, the loser is still you. Your father is still doing what he wants. Your self-torture has no effect on him. It will never have –for we are born with a free spirit. Now it’s up us to direct it to a right or wrong direction. You can force your will on someone’s choice of direction momentarily, if at all you can, but not for a long time.”

Radhika was looking at him like a kid does to her teacher in a class where she does not understand a single word taught but wants to learn desperately.

Prashant continued, “What you think, your mother will be happy to hear about your self-destruction in the name of her sufferings? Will she not be happier to hear a life for you that she never had– A life full of love? Give yourself a chance, Radhika. Whatever happened with your mother is not your fault. And you are doing no good by making her a reason for your destruction. Come back, dear. Things will be fine.”

“I feel incapable of loving a man, Prashant.”

“You can take your time to come out of it. I shall wait. We will be friends till then.”

“It may take my whole life. I feel you are the most genuine man I have ever met and I don’t want you to suffer because of me.”

“Now, this is not suffering; it’s pure, simple love. If you allow it to be… or even if you don’t.”

They smiled to each other.

Radhika and Prashant married after thirteen years from that evening.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

An Evening… :Diagnosed

I received a few critical reviews about the story I published last on this blog. I think either it has been misunderstood by the reader or told ambiguously by me. What ever be the case, I would like to explain a few points raised by my dear readers in best of my capacity.

The general points of disagreements were:

1) What doctor did in the story (not allowing the treatment of the patient being a suicide case) is professionalism of the practice.
2) Why to criticize America? Rather we should learn from them.
3) The story is not relevant in this era. It seems like a story to be told some 15 yrs back.

Very well. I will put forth some random facts about India here now.

The population: 1,129,866,154 (July 2007).
The population of farmers: Nearly 55% of the total population.
The % of population who is leaving farming as a career option: Approximately 50 million people who are part of farming families leave the profession every year.
The suicide rate of farmers: Over 15000 farmers per year.

To answer the first disagreement, let me state that “Suicide is NOT a crime.” To end one’s own existence in a state where one thinks/assumes/decides that he/she cannot survive anymore as a living being, should come under fundamental rights and not as a criminal offence as seen by the Indian law. Now, I understand that, in this perspective or any other (if someone chooses to disagree with me on the above mentioned point), everyone agrees that death or approach of death is always graver than a crime. I also understand that everyone agrees to the fact that the core of doctor’s profession is to save lives to the best of his medical capacities. So being rude to a dying patient is called professionalism? How? I don’t understand that. And even if suicide is considered a crime and treating such a patient is a police case, is it not a better option to start the treatment and call the police? To keep one away from the complexities of a police case and shrugging off the responsibilities of his/her profession is called professionalism? How? I don’t understand that either.

Answering the second disagreement, I would say I never criticized America in the story. If at all I commented on any thing it’s the way we Indians take our lessons. A NRI, who has never seen India, and who never cared for its people, is loved and cared by the citizen of this country like anything. His/her case will be talked about at every nook and corner (remember the march for the astronaut in the story!!), but we never feel like talking about someone who grow our food. We don’t talk because that fellow never did his agricultural work in America. We believe in copy-paste. We don’t learn - a general case in point is all the realities shows on television these days. And if at all someone is trying to, let me warn, you have chosen a wrong teacher. Now I criticize America- for giving us the wrong lessons and Indians- for happily taking it. There are better teachers, if we so desperately need one. Look at Japan. And why, why can’t we learn our lessons by ourselves? We are one of the oldest civilizations in the world, if my history knowledge is still ok. A leader is born out of innovation; the way we are, is the way followers are made.

Now go up and read the facts again. Do they make any sense?

They do. Let’s see how.

Let’s assume the suicide rate is not a concern. But the kind of effect it has on the employees in this profession is something we should be concerned about. If the population in this particular profession is depleting with such a rate, it’s dangerous to all of us. Food is something whose demand will never ever decrease (See the rate with which we are increasing in number). If there are less people to grow there will be lesser food to eat. Simple Logic. What are going to do then? Eat softwares - we are best at producing them these days? Import food? From where and at what cost? If a nation is not self-reliant for something like food, it’s bound to be colonized and ruled.

So ultimately it becomes the question of my own survival and not the farmers. So I say it’s my problem if a farmer is taking up suicide because it affects my food availability in some way. And hence no story can be stated to be “It seems like a story to be told some 15 yrs back”, if it related to my existence in all these modern years, can it be?

The biggest joke is - it’s not something we can’t do about their problems; but mere ignorance. So what are their basic problems? Unavailability of Irrigation facilities during a drought. Safeguard for deluge. Good seeds and fertilizers.

And we can’t provide solutions for these, sorry, we are not interested. We can devise atom bomb, we can send our men to moon, we can be excellent exporters of softwares; but we can’t provide solution for their basic problems. The joke is done. Please laugh. Laugh until you realize that the joke is on you, on us.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

An evening in a clinic

I was patiently waiting for the doctor in a foggy, rainy evening. Patiently - because I had no other option.

It was 7:30 PM, one and half hours later than the scheduled timing of the doctor’s arrival. There were four patients in total – three individuals and one group. I was there to get a dressing done for my injured knee. There was one elderly lady who was coughing frenziedly and an old man who looked sadder than the word ‘Sad’ can ever appear in a human form. And then there was this group.

I call it a group because there were four people – one old man, an old woman, a thin but tall guy with mustaches and another thin but not-so-tall guy without mustaches; and they all looked sick, all malnourished. The old man commanded extra sympathy because he was faint for some reason.

I was already bored after looking at the few things and few people available in that room, and had cursed the doctor for being so carelessly lazy.

At around 7:50 PM, the helper announced for the chief guest’s arrival. (Give a round of applause, people!!)

The old man with the ultra sad look went inside the doctor’s chamber. In the waiting room, the group patients were becoming anxious. The-guy-without-mustaches went out, walked around and returned. They had one common emotion on their faces, except the old man as his faint state didn’t allow him to emote. The emotion is called fear, I suppose. I also supposed that they must fear the hefty fee they are going to be charged for being a group of four people. But hey, they could ask for a group concession!!

When their turn arrived, all of them tried to rush into the doctor’s chamber, but were asked to stay back. Only the guy-with-mustaches was allowed with the old man.

In a minute’s time, the doctor came out and shouted at the group - two inside, two out side.

“Get out from here. Don’t you understand it’s a police case? I don’t want to get into all this. Get out, please.”

The old lady from the group started crying. The guy-without-mustaches pleaded in the best possible way he can.

“Doctor Saab, we did go to the government hospital in the morning. Could not get a doctor there. Waited for the whole day. Most of them left by five evening…when inquired, the staff said ‘they all go to their private clinics.’ They gave us your address. They said you are a good hearted doctor. We don’t know anybody here. Please save him.”

The doctor signaled the helper to move them out.

I was the next to be examined. But before anything could start, I asked, "what was the matter with the old man, doc?”

“Oh! He is from some distant village. The crazy fellow consumed poison!! And he was already dead. We can’t cure a dead body, can we? Forget it. What is it you are here for?”

“Forget it.”

I rushed out; or I’ll say, I tried to rush. I found them at the other end of the street. I did not know what brought me to do this but I patted on the back of the guy-without-mustaches and asked, “Who is he?”

“My father.”

“What happened?”

“He was a farmer.”

He tried very hard, but the guy-without-mustaches could not hide his moist eyes and rushed to join his group.

I stood still. Still, in that frame of moment. It seemed like the mist, all around me, was frozen. I fell short of air. I wished I could run.

On the way home, I saw a huge crowd in and around a big burger joint where they sell burgers for only Twenty rupees. And people pay, happily. But out of those only twenty rupees, how much goes to the farmer who produced the flour for that burger? Who knows? And who cares?

I thought all these because I saw a death, may be. But then do we need hundred deaths to stimulate the same thought in hundred other people?

It was already quarter to nine. I took one last turn to my gully and saw a bunch of kids holding a candle in one hand a placard in another, they were doing some march for the safe arrival of some India-born, American astronaut.

A thought crossed my mind and I told this to myself, “Long live America.”

Monday, June 25, 2007

Holes... that suck out the whole!!

I returned home at Twelve, Midnight, from office; went into kitchen towards the water filter to fetch some water for myself. And god!! It was almost empty. To satisfy my thirst, I had to use tap water, which is not very good. In fact it’s dangerous in the rainy season in a city like Mumbai.

I got to bed, and tried to get some sleep. When I closed my eyes, the day, just passed, appeared again in mind as repeat telecast of some Saas-Bahu serial. And as my sisters always give a second thought to all such serials, I gave it to my day. So here’s my day for you-

“It started off well. Like anybody’s. I went to office happily and my boss gave me an assignment. Work was good enough and could have been finished in a day’s time (or that’s what it seemed to me!!). I jumped onto it as I wanted to finish it off earlier than expected because I had catch up with my friends. But look what happened. I could merely finish off a little more than quarter of the work and it was evening already. My friends called up and barked on me for postponing our meet, yet again. I apologized as always. Went to work again with a heavy mood and could finish a bit more than half of the whole before I could take up the last office bus.”

Back home, no water, no sleep. No Water? Hey I did fill in the whole of the water filter in the morning!! Where did the water evaporated? The day wasn’t that hot!!

I went to kitchen again. When I carefully looked around the filter, I saw a trail of water running very softly from the back of the filter. Water didn’t evaporate, as it could not. It leaked out of a small hole. My water filter had a hole. I felt a bit relaxed, don’t know why. May be, because the mystery of the lost water was solved. I got back to the bed room and was back to my trial of getting a sound sleep. When I closed my eyes, the day reappeared like a black ghost. I opened my eyes, suddenly and closed it back as I wanted to see what this ghost had to tell this time. I visualized my day again and watched a few things that I had overlook at the first revision.

I did my work for most of the day but that was not all. I did too many others things as well. Like when my sisters watch their favorite TV soaps, they don’t watch just that but a lot of commercials in the breaks. And at the end of the day they forget whether they watched commercials in within the soap time or otherwise!! And I could see these commercial breaks in my work now. Uncountable ‘Coffee with Karan (Or who-so-ever-it-is, doesn’t matter)’ breaks. Chit-chat with friends/colleagues. Unnecessary phone called. Online chatting. Or all of them.

And suddenly I was smiling with eyes closed tightly. I found holes in my day’s life, which sucked out my working capacity. Holes, those sucked out the whole. It was such a simple concept and I could never realize!!

And this concept applies to every walk of life.

You had lots of money but don’t know where it’s gone? You had the whole day to finish off a job but could not and felt that the time given was too short? You had a bunch of amazing friends but lost touch with most of them? Your family begs for your time and you feel you just can’t help it?

Look out for holes. May be you are spending your money where you can easily save; say, a BEST bus can save 10 bucks where you take your rickshaw to. May be you are working with too many interventions and have lost focus on the main job. May be you said/did some stupid things to people who care about you and you never bothered to realize what you did.

The idea is, look out for holes and plug them. And you restore the beauty of life as a whole. I restored my water filter by plugging the hole in it, next morning. And it was a beautiful start.

Monday, June 18, 2007


He never realized when he stopped loving her. In all the mess created by their break up, all the love was gone. What remained was the idea that he loved her.

It all started with a thought that whispered in his ears that she somehow likes him. The girl was already engaged, just three months to be married; but was not in love with the person she was marrying to or that’s what she thought. And the guy was out of a long term relationship. Office colleagues, sitting side-by-side, were talking over the yahoo messenger day in and day out. It all seemed to be a great fun. Talking late nights over the phone... Saying I-Love-U’s counted to infinity… Crying to each other… Fighting with each other…

She said, “I won’t be able to handle it. We are going no where. I want to be yours but that is just impossible. Shit!! What the hell I am getting into. I told that bugger that I don’t love him. But now he is not listening. ‘It’s too late’ is what he says.”

He said, “Don’t worry. Go marry him. When things start souring and whenever you want to be back, do come. I will always be here, waiting for you.”

She said, “I love you.”

He said, “I love you, too.”

They kissed each other and exchanged rings as a symbol of their love. They thought they are married to each other. They just thought.

In the end days of warm winters of Mumbai, she got married. She got married to a guy she thought she never loved.

He was invited. And he did attend to his beloved’s marriage. She whispered into his ears that she still loved him and only him. He replied back.

The next day, she went onto honeymoon tour for a month to Australia. He was here, in Mumbai, waiting patiently and sometimes impatiently, for her return. And when she did, the summer arrived.

She said, “Let’s be friends. It can’t happen, sweetheart. Please try to understand my position. My dad will die of insult if I do something like…like…leaving my husband. Now that’s my life. Even though I don’t like it, I have to accept it. And you too.”

He said, “But I can’t live without you. It’s impossible, dammit. When you love me and I love you, what’s the problem? ”

She said, “That’s the whole problem, sweetheart.”

She was gone. He was left to the wilderness of that thing called, Love.

He kept calling her, messaging her, chatting with her online, in a hope that some day, just some day she will return to him with a desire to stay with him, for the sake of their love. On every interaction, she held a different flavor of her mood. Sometimes she was friendly, sometimes rude; sometimes attentive, sometimes avoiding; sometimes caring, sometimes ignorant.

She said, “Baby, it’s time you should concentrate more on your career. Whatever was to happen between us has happened. And things were probably had to end this way. Please don’t waste your life like this. I like you, baby, but can’t do anything. You know what, when I see my husband, my in-laws and the way they treat me so lovingly, I feel guilty that I am doing wrong to them. I can’t bear it, sweetheart.”

And he smiled.

After three months, one fine day his friend called the Girl. “He consumed poison; tried killing himself. He is in hospital and wants to see you badly…if only you could make it once.”

She felt disgusted; disgusted by the behavior of her ex-lover. “How could he be so weak?” She thought.

He was lying on the hospital bed, half-alive. She was sitting on a stool.

She said, “Why you did this, baby?”

He said, “For you. I love you so much that I just can’t live without you. I love you.”

He died that night.

It was all in the news papers next morning. A retired couple was reading their morning paper over a cup of tea.

The Lady said, “She was a bitch. She killed him. She played around with him…..How innocently the guy loved her!!”

The Gentleman smiled. The lady retreated and told him not to give any of his unusual, so-called practical comment over this issue at least. And his smiled turned into a sweet laughter. He said, “Ok. Let’s do it your way this time, in a pure emotional way. Why do you think the guy loved her?” “What do you mean? Don’t you see he was ready to wait for her forever?”

“And did he wait?”

“But she was changed!! How could he bear that?”

“Did the guy not know that she was about to be married? Don’t know who initiated the thought but if he did, he was stupid and if she did, he could have easily stopped her.”

“Now hold that thought!! Love does not see all these things. It happens whenever and to whom-so-ever it wishes to. And he loved her so badly!!!”

“So you want to say that it happened because of love? Good. So one thing is clear that the girl is not responsible for the death but the love is. May be. But whose love? You said she never loved him and played around with him. So it can’t be her love. And you think he loved her?”

“Now you are trying to be reasonable….but….love….”

“No darling. I am being very-very emotional. Love is one thought that starts from the core of a person. If somebody says I-Love-You, He/She should know very well about this ‘I’. He lost himself in this game of love. His existence seized. May be he loved her but his love died then only when she was sleeping cozily with her husband and not responding to his calls; when she was roaming all around the city with her husband and ignoring him every time he met her. And it died not only against her but the whole world. He was not capable of love. A person who could not love himself cannot love anyone else.”

“What are you talking?”

“Do you want to know what killed him? It was an Idea.”

“An Idea???”

“Yes. An Idea of his long lost loved. He stopped loving her. But the thought remained. He just thought that he loved her. He felt insulted whenever he thought that she is not with him. From being his beloved, she turned to an object of stubbornness. He never let her go. Love is all about playing it easy. One can’t force love. One can’t plead love. And as you said ‘It happens whenever and to whom-so-ever it wishes to.’ It also ends whenever it wishes to. He never died because love never kills. He was consumed to death, by the idea of his love.”

They sipped in their remaining tea in silence.