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9/22/2006

 

The Perfect Love Letter - 4

Apologies for the delay in bringing the concluding parts of this story to you. If you haven't read the earlier parts, please do so before you proceed further. I don't think it matters but I'll anyway warn you: this is a long ass post.
Continued from
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

It was 31 December and I was walking on Bazaar street in Greamspet. I was there not because I had any business there but because I didn�t know what else to do. I was roaming around like a zombie. My grand plan was about to backfire.

The garish, sweltering afternoon kept people indoors. The street was deserted. Well almost. I heard the Bhel-selling Pathan somewhere. He was a portly, old man with a shiny, white flowing beard and a Pathan cap that seemed as if it was stitched to his head. I never saw him without it. He sold Bhel (puffed rice) on his moped, a Suvega that moved at a lightning speed of 20 KMPH on a good day. And, good days were far and few between for his Suvega. He carried two large sacks of Bhel that burdened the 50CC moped. We would know that the Pathan was on his way, at least ten minutes before he actually graced our streets: the Suvega made up for its snail-pace with its cacophonous exhaust noise. New comers to the locality thought he was arriving in a truck! He would make a grand entry, always in the afternoon before teatime, crushing the Bhel and blowing it to the heavens. The Suvega would swerve perilously on the street before he tamed the wacky beast and put it on its stand. The crushed Bhel, in the meantime, would float all around him, creating some sort of an snowy, ethereal effect. Though hardly anyone bought the Bhel, most people popped out braving the merciless, Chittoor Sun, just to catch a glimpse of the gregarious Pathan.

I ran into him near the temple. He stopped and greeted me in Tamil. I never understood how a Pathan could speak all South Indian languages, but he did speak all of them. I don�t know why he was called a Pathan in the first place but he played to his title very well.

�Mora moraaalu!� he roared and grinned baring his yellow teeth. That was his trade-call, his �branding� if you will. He claimed that you can hear the sound �mora mora� if you crushed his Bhel. I responded with a feeble smile.
�What happened bhai? All well at home?� he enquired.
�All fine. All fine.� I said but I guess my voice gave it all away.

He brought the Suvega on its legs, the stand, and slapped the sagging Bhel sacks into position before he came by my side and put his arm around me and said,
�What�s troubling you beta? Your father caught you smoking?�

Though I had stopped buying Bhel from him years back, when we moved from Greamspet, I used to talk to him when I bumped into him anywhere in the town and sort of became friends with him. He lived some where near our Chemistry tutor�s place and he saw me with the girl quite often. And he always beamed his trademark smile at me and a nod of respect to her. I figured he understood what was going on.

I did not answer his question, for I knew he was going to arrive at the issue.
�How is that lovely, young lady? Your friend?� He finally asked.
�Oh she is great. She is great yeah.� I sighed and he nodded ferociously before uttering the simple yet moving words.
�Talk to her if she is angry. Women like to hear the same thing many times. I have two wives and I know from experience that nothing like an honest, heart-to-heart talk to fix any issue. Anything at all!�
�What makes you think that she and I are not on good terms?� I said.
�You have not denied it yet and your face tells a million stories. After all, I have known you since the time you started crawling, eh?�
�I don�t know Pathan, I played some games on her to impress her and to gain some sympathy�� I said and observed that my voiced quivered.
�Sympathy is for losers, bhai, winners do it by tackling the demon by its horns. But then again, the trouble is you need to find what your demons are. I guess they are lies and lack of faith. Kill them, but for now, eat my mora-moraalu!� The Pathan said handing me a fistful of Bhel. We sat down on the stone bench outside the temple. A couple of kids were riding Nandi the bull. I don�t know why but I told him my story. He listened to me as he blew his crushed Bhel and by the time I finished, there was a crunchy carpet of Bhel all around me.

�Like I said, go tell her the facts before it is too late. I don�t see any other way out. Even if your plan works, do you think you will be happy? I don�t think so. From what I have seen I think she likes you. The way she looks at you when you two are walking together?�
I was excited. �You really think so Pathan? I mean you are the expert, do you really think she�s got feelings for me?�
He paused to cough. He cleared his throat, pulled out a beedi from behind his ear, and lit the beedi despite the strong breeze that had started a few moments back.
I asked him for a beedi but he refused to part with one.
�She is a beautiful girl so how many boys are after her?� He asked.
�Around ten? Maybe more?� I said.
�Yet, she sticks around only with you?�
�We are friends Pathan� were friends.�
�A man and a woman can�t be so close and not fall in love. So, don�t give up. Actually why don't you write a letter and give it to her if you are scared that you will mess it up when you are talking to her? Now, I will have to take care of my business. Do tell me what happened.� He said.
He patted me on the back of my head before he started his Suvega and went away.

I stood there watching him disappear around the bend. Sweat trickled down my face and I wiped it off with the back of my hand. Back to square one. Letter again! But, I really thought about what he said. Why is it that the obvious always evades us until it is too late? All I had to do was to get the message across and that was it, but I wasted time chasing Garden lizards and staging dramas to get her attention and sympathy.

People say that when your time has arrived nothing can go wrong. But, mostly the opposite of it occurs: when you are destined to be screwed, not even Chiranjeevi can save you.

My junior, who was supposed to be my witness, was in Hyderabad. He had promised to return the previous day but he was nowhere to be seen. Junior�s ultra conservative, brahmin dad refused to talk to me because he claimed that he saw me in Jyothi talkies, watching one of those Malayalam movies. I wanted to ask him what he was doing there, but I had better things to do. I never was at the Jyothi talkies. I always watched my share of �those� Malayalam movies in Ananda movie hall. They showed dubbed versions. The dialogues were in Telugu but the content remained the same. Junior�s dad also threatened to kill his son if I ever met him. I wanted to reassure him that if his son did not turn up, before it was too late, I would do the honors myself.

So, AH executed part one of my grand plan. He went and sang to her. He told her how I had bragged about the girl irritating me by stalking me and giving me 'I miss you' cards. About how I would throw her out of my life if she had any grand ideas like 'love.' He played his part well. So the original plan of proving that the AH was lying and there by creating a trough of sympathy backfired. My witness was inaccessible. And all hell broke loose that night. The new year�s eve.


[Concluding part to be posted tomorrow. Promise!]

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3 Comments:

Anonymous CTRam said...

Good one, Suman. Waiting for the rest of it!

Saturday, September 23, 2006 2:38:00 AM GMT+05:30  
Anonymous Vinod Joseph said...

Very good stuff. Look forward to reading the concluding bit. Vinod Joseph

Monday, September 25, 2006 2:28:00 PM GMT+05:30  
Anonymous rajeev said...

Hi,

Nice blog!

Why don�t you consider writing about some of the new �India 2.0� sites that are creating a little buzz as well?

Eg: www.ilaaka.com

www.onyomo.com

Thanks!

Rajeev

Thursday, September 28, 2006 2:36:00 PM GMT+05:30  

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