Sunday, April 12, 2009

One-night stand

Confused. That sums up my mental state. I don’t know what I want to say. I don’t know what I want to do next. I don’t know where I want to go. I don’t know what I want to be. All I know is - I don’t know. Every morning I wake up with this hope of clearing the mess off my head. But the more I clean, more it gets messy.

That night my mind was loaded with the shit generated out of all day’s information digestion (and indigestion). I wished to excrete. But didn’t know how. Standing on the railway platform at Santacruz, when the station clock was about to click “12:00” in midnight. I figured out my options. I didn’t wish to go home. I checked the listing of people I could call and spend the night with. After scrolling a few names, I stopped at Arvind. I called him up.

“Hey Ridhima, What’s up?” He almost exclaimed on the other side of the phone.

“Hey Arvind, I hope I haven’t disturbed you!”

“Of course not!!! But where are you at this hour? I can hear some noise in your back ground.”

“Ya. Am at Santacruz station… was wondering… if we can meet?”

“Now?” He exclaimed again, but with a hint of happiness this time.


“Sure then. Where you wanna meet?”

“Is your place free?” I wondered if it was me who asked that. And then I wondered if I really asked that. Such a question is a social, and a more civilized, way to ask – Can we have sex?

I could figure out the expression on his face. He must have grinned and looked in the mirror, if one was near him, to ensure that he was looking good, even though he knew I could, in no way, see him, and must have screamed “YESSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!”

“Just be there, I shall come and pick you up in another fifteen minutes. It wont take more than that.” He lied. He knew he could not reach here from Mahim in fifteen minutes however fast he drives. But I said, “ok,”, cut the call and started walking out of the station.

I thought of him - not Arvind, but Ritesh, the guy who had not responded to my proposal a few minutes ago the way I expected him to. When I asked him if he will marry me (and this was probably hundredth time that I had asked), he had said, “Darling, why do you need to worry about that. We are happy together, aren’t we? Just relax. Everything will fall in place.” He was about to kiss my hand before I had withdrawn forcefully. I wished to see him elated with fact that a girl had shown the courage to propose a guy. He should have hugged me, kissed me deep. Probably taken me home. Made love with me. But he didn’t, and this was all my imagination. I had looked in his eyes with utter gravity, to which he had replied with a feeble smile and then had looked away. I then, collected my bag and carried myself out of the restaurant.

Now, this was the moment when I was waiting for this guy, Arvind. He was a rich guy (he had a duplex apartment in an area like Mahim, by the sea). Not some hunk, but looked decent. I had once met him in a club. Since then he was placating me to be friends, which again was a sober translation of “Please have sex with me”.

I didn’t know what forced me to call Arvind. In the moments of waiting for him I was wondering if I should wait for him or not. I double-checked with my mind. I wanted to stay and wait and I wanted to run away; exactly in the same moment. But all I did was pacing up and down the staircase of the station. During this, my mobile was flooded with Ritesh’s messages which I didn’t bother to open and read. Some twenty five minutes later it rang. It was Arvind.

“Where are you, I just reached station. Am standing outside.”

“Coming. Wait for me near the ticket counter.” And I cut the call before I could hear his confirmation.

I almost ran to the counter. I wasn’t sure if I was chasing or running away from something, but I wanted to move; move fast. Reaching at the counter, I saw him. Standing and smiling. We exchanged a quick ‘Hello’ and I moved towards the exit, forcing him to follow. I didn’t wish to be there, in open, with him. Though no one knew what we were meeting far, I felt I was standing there, naked. While driving back, we hardly spoke. He did inform me that there were some friends at home and they would be gone by the time we reach.

“Did you tell them where were you going?” I enquired.

“Ya. I told them. I have to meet a friend urgently. So they said they will pack up and leave.”

Then there was a silence till we reach home. In each moment in the car I was wondering – whether I should or should not. Will it be all right if I tell him to drop me back to station?

When he keyed in to open his door, I put my hands on in back. He turned back and raised his eyebrows that meant, “What?”

I shook my head that meant, “Nothing.”

His drawing room floor was littered with bottles of alcohol and cigarette buds. There were some cushions lying around. He smiled to me apologetically and said, “Gimme a minute. I will clean all this. Meanwhile, you can freshen up yourself in case you want to. There’s the bathroom…And its clean.” He laughed as if it was the best joke in the world and it was the best time to crack that. I smile even though I didn’t wish to, and moved towards his supposedly clean bathroom. When I came out, the room was clean and there was a glass of water on the table. He called from the kitchen, “There’s water on the table.” Then he came out with two glasses. The content within both looked same. “He handed one to me and said, “don’t worry, its plain cola… by the way, would you like to eat something?”

I thought about my dinner with Ritesh for a second and said, “No.”

“Well then, sit.”

We both sat. he had switched on “You’re beautiful” by James Blunt in his bedroom and volume was loud enough to flow in the drawing room. I wondered if he was trying to convey something through the song. But washed that thought off the very next moment.

Before it could go awkward, sitting silently there and sipping in our drinks in slow motion, I kept the glass on the table and moved towards the bedroom. The lights in were off. I reached the window and stood by its side. I could see the sea and the Bandra-Worli sea link in progress. The structure appeared as if they were building up a small hill in middle of the sea. I heard the sea falling on the shore and looked down. There were few lights on the street.

Then I felt a hand trying to reach my navel from my back. I didn’t realize when did Arvind enter the room. He slowly moved his face around my nape and kissed. Then he tightened his grip and lifted me to the bed. He kissed me where ever he could, starting from my feet. When he reached my face and was about to kiss my lips, I held his chest with my fragile hands as a signal to stop. He understood, smiled and moved down to undress me. I let him. For next few hours, he caressed and kissed my body, but I couldn’t feel him. I couldn’t make a sense of out this act. I was not there. Though he possessed my body, he too knew I wasn’t there. In each of his act, I could only imagined how Ritesh would have done that. In the moment before he was about to enter inside me, I collected myself and walked up to window. I could see a part of me naked in the light coming from outside.

He called from the bed in a low voice, “What happened?”

I replied without turning back, “ Nothing.” Then after a pause, I said, “I think sex is the most boring activity in the world.” I smiled dryly. Then I went back and sat on the bed, my feet touching the calm earth and my back straight, looking directly out of the window. The moon was a little yellowish, but full.

“Didn’t you like me”, he whispered.

“No, its not about you. Its something about me and frankly speaking, I don’t know what it is.” I replied.

When Arvind caressed my back with his fingers again, I let him. It didn’t really matter. Nothing really mattered, then.

I don’t remember far how long I was there, but when I returned home, the milkman was leaving our building on his cycle. I unlatched the door, went straight to my bedroom. My flatmate was asleep in her room. We don’t really enquire about whereabouts till we don’t need each other. And in fact in this moment, I didn’t wish to talk to anyone. When I entered my room, I saw someone standing, staring at me. Her hair was badly undone, eyes red and encircled with deep darkness. Her dress was crushed. She was trembling. I could see beyond that, beyond her physical appearance, inside her heart. It was filled with guilt, shame and fear. The problem was, she didn’t know towards whom should she feel guilty, what she should be ashamed of and why should she fear. But despite all this, I could sense a feeling of calmness. I didn’t understand if this was my own confused mental status which forced my to see her in this divided emotional state or she actually was in one. I moved my eyes away from her, took my sandals off, undressed myself and lied on my bed.

I smiled to the fact that I have a full length mirror in my bedroom in front of the entrance and closed my eyes in an attempt to sleep.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

तेरे जलने के बाद...

तेरे जलने के बाद बची थी दो ही चीज़े -

राख-अस्थियों से भरा हुआ एक कलश पड़ा था,

जिन्हें विसर्जित कर आई पावन गंगा में;

और बची-खुची, कुछ कटी-कटी सी तेरी यादें,

दिन के हर एक पहर में लिपटी अलग-अलग सी,

जिन्हें बहा दिया है खून में अपने, हर एक नस में...

अब सुबह-सुबह जब भाग रही होती हूँ

तब तुम याद आते हो,

और कभी सोने के पहले आँखों में मंडरा जाते हो,

कभी बिना तौलिये स्नानघर से हाथ बढाऊ

वो हाथ वही पर थामे थामे से रो पढ़ते हैं,

कई बार यूँही मैं दरवाज़े को खोल के आऊं

इस आस में की तुम कहीँ से शायद लौट आये हो!

खाने की मेज़ सजाती कभी-कभी मैं

थाल तुम्हारे नाम सजा कर रुक जाती हूँ ,

कभी बच्चों को एक शून्य में पा स्तंभित होती

और कभी खुद शून्य में उस गुम हो जाती हूँ,

तुझे आस पास ना पा कर कई बार मरी हूँ,

पर पा कर अपने अंदर तुझको जी उठती हूँ

तेरे जलने के बाद बची हैं दो ही चीज़े,

कुछ कटे-कटे से हम हैं... और कुछ तेरी यादें!