In between the seconds

Monday, April 29, 2013


Here’s an anecdote of Omi, a boy living in an abyss of ignorance of everything, even himself. The scene is Manorama Aunty’s home and he’s leaving the place after having had a nice time there, it’s evening.

“The cake was really delicious aunty! And so was the khichdi and aloo kees…Thank you!” “Thank you, beta, and you’re most welcome” I said finally and headed down with Natasha. “It was a great day!

“Thanks!” “Oh… Thank you very much, sir! My pleasure…” she said and then abruptly turned to me: “Shut up and tell me, when are you doing be serious about anything at all?” “Like what?” said I, somewhat taken aback; “Hm…let’s see… With what you’re doing here, for a start?” “I told you I don’t know how to do things, that’s most difficult-” “You know, everything, every single thing is most difficult for you. You just don’t want to actually do anything, do you?” “What did you say they put in the coffee??” I wasn’t in a mood at all to consider things seriously. Well, that wasn’t such a good question and I had just received a slap when I cried “What?!” “You can’t be so pathetic, you just can’t be…I mean, c’mon, what are you exactly doing? You say you don’t study, agreed. You don’t paint, you don’t write, you aren’t a loafer, you don’t indulge anywhere…you are an ass!” “Thanks for the compliment…” I said. “This is serious. I am serious, and I’m well aware this is the first time but its time. Just think- all you ever do is brood on and on, you’re wasting yourself, if there’s anything at all left, that is.” “I know that.” “And what difference does that make?” I was pulling the lift door now as I saw two children getting inside and considered her. This was indeed the first ever time that I was confronted with that form and temper of her. She’s always been funny and light-minded, there actually seemed no possibility that this charmer of a face could possess at some time such severe expression, I guessed something was wrong and so unwittingly tried making another attempt at talking: “Is something wrong with you?” “Oh, is it now? Something wrong with me, it must be! Let’s see, who’s that whiny poor thing whimpering “I failed, I failed, I wanted this and that, years wasted?” something must be wrong with me!” “That’s funny” I sniggered and apparently made another mistake, for I had it this time on the back of my head. “Hey!” “This is not funny, Charles, this is about you, about us, it’s about Jane and about Alvin, or is it not?” “But anyway, it’s just your dreams, why should I care?” “You are getting back to normal, I observe…” “Not, I’m getting back to my carefree self, and that isn’t good news for you.” That was true, I figured. “Well, what do you suggest for my immediate future?” “Try the newspaper, please. You wanted me to tell you what to do, I am, now you have to do it. Anyone else won’t do it for you.” “It’s getting repetitive” “And so it is, but again, it seems to make no effect upon you.”

The sky was turning a purple tinted with grey; the pink fading far away into the horizon. The light breeze that had welcomed us on to accompanied us all along the roadway that lead off to the crossroads, it was metaphoric that I was heading crossroads, I saw her beautiful face and regretted having brought those worries to her- now that was disturbing, I had not seen her ever worried about anyone and I was the last person she’d ever be worried about. We’d spent the day together, she’d picked me up from my college; Joan had a test to take there and I was very happy about the whole affair. And more so, I found myself much happier that moment, when I saw her concerned about me and felt bad all the same. She was right: I was doing literally nothing.

“What? Lost again, are we?” “Thanks, Natasha.” “For what? You know, you don’t at all look the dumb you actually are, you-” I had had enough; I cut her “Yeah, I get it. You want me to draft the letter and mail it asap.” “And-” “And of course do the other things that I long since want to. You know, not even my mother has ever…” “I’m not your mother and I won’t be kind to you. You’re wasting a lot and others are paying for it.” “I see people care…” “Yes, they do, and that’s why you’re so insolent. Taxi!” She literally stuffed me and my bag into the taxi and said “the Great Gate please, and as early as possible!” “I popped my head out of the taxi and shouted “I love you!”” “Shut up and don’t show me that face for some good time!” Nice send-off …I texted to which came the quick reply: Kindest possible. And yet, I smiled as I thought about her and the wind rustled past my face. “The lady seemed angry” said the driver “Nothing, just my best friend and concerned” I smiled back, to which he nodded and we went past the hustle and bustle of the city in quiet agreement…

While returning I contemplated whatever she’d said: of me, Jane and everything else. Jane, like her and Alvin, was my best friend and perhaps the best of all; she’s the one I loved.  And I felt touched that she said it about them too and more than that, herself too. After spending so much time together staring at the cars, discussing them, loudly wondering when we’d have them ourselves and talking old times and having those delicious desserts and the coffees, I think we’d grown pretty fond of each other, the three of us, indeed.

I missed the fourth man, however, so did he, which I discovered just that day. He’s some great hundreds of miles away and had it not been for the smartphones-turned-transceivers today, I would have very regrettably missed the discovery. The fourth man, Alvin was by far my oldest buddy and the one I’d had the most unusual and, well, insightful, experiences with. So many things happening in a few hours’ time make you believe time flies… See, there’d been so many years and it was that day that I had to figure out how much they all loved me. “And in vain I cried all the time…” I thought.

That day, was today.


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