Romantic Interlude

The true story of my romance. Not a very secret one, I have shared it with my teenaged daughter and a few non-teenaged friends. Of course not with my wife. That would be too dangerous.

Let me first make it clear that one shouldn’t assume – the way we used to have in the famous ragging sequence in the colleges “Assume that naked girl comes and sits in your lap and kisses you…“. In this case the protagonist, the heroine of the story, isn’t my infant sister, cousin, niece or any other relative. Nor she is infant but is grown up, in fact I could confidently say that she is in her prime youth. If one bothers to notice, her behaviour itself would indicate, but still for the non-observant I am making it once for all clear.

After four hot days and of course nights finally on Wednesday evening there was the light at the end of tunnel. Of these four days, two days and three nights I had to stay at the dwelling place, the office being off. It was only one Tuesday, I could cool myself a bit in the office.
There at least I was powerful enough – not by the power given by the government to me, but by creating it courtesy the stored and not very frequently used Energy Fluid (Diesel).

Let me go back to the 32 and continue to 126 before I hit 27 for the time being (ASCII printable characters from start to finish are 32 to 126. Since I don’t have any plan to use 127 = Delete, I would rather go along with 27= Escape.) 

It was a dark and stormy evening. It is an usual feature of this part of India, at least of the town I stay in, that even at the hint of rain, even before the downpour has started, either due to faulty instruments tripping or as a safety measure by trigger happy persons in control of it, the people on the ground (or even other floors) are made powerless. The dark and stormy exterior is always matched by the interiors – darkness of the houses and furious storms in the minds residing in the houses.

The rain started. It wanted the people to watch its glory and might. Afraid that people would miss it due to the darkness, it brought its own flashlight. In addition, to prevent people falling asleep, it even brought percussion instruments with its entourage to keep the audience awake. The stage was anyway set and the whole band with the light and the song started playing to the full, though not a least bit pleased, leave around being enthusiastic, audience. 

There was a mesh of water and electricity all around us, as far as one could see. It wasn’t an unhindered view, being a hilly and non-plain terrain, full of trees and also it was dark. At the end of a couple of hours program, the clouds left for other drier pastures, but by then the number of thunder-strikes, countable in unit of dozens, had charged up the whole area.

Naturally the people in control wanted the whole natural charge to be naturally dissipated before more, and manmade, charge was introduced. Had it been radioactive, I would have expected a Geiger-Muller. Here I am not very sure which type of galvanometer they used to find the strength of the field, or did they use any at all. But either by measurement, or due to past-experience, or just by hunch, they decided on a figure and accordingly for four days all the charges were dropped from the entire town. Fortunately in this period, no further natural charge or even water were introduced, otherwise the period would have been stretched either in stacked or telescopic manner.

In this interregnum the elections for the state assembly took place, but ‘Power’ was not one of the candidates the people could select. Anyway the political elections are to give power, not to get power. To their credit, the powerful people did keep the area of power, the polling booths, powerful, using DG Sets. But unfortunately others, living off the booths were not that lucky. Even those having inverters soon ran out of energy and then they to joined us in our gloomy and murderous mood. In this state, and more so in this area, the apartments or residential complexes are rare. Except in shops, offices or factories like our, naturally none would install a captive DG set. 

 

It all started in the evening of that fateful day, a Saturday when probably scared of the thunder and to take refuge from rain, a slim, dark, tall and not handsome girl took shelter in the guest-house where I lived a bachelor’s life.

Let me clarify here that, 

  1. Girls can’t be handsome, that is male gender’s prerogative. Of course in earlier times, there used to be handsome girls, probably either in Dicken’s or in Austen’s, I have read this adjective feminised. But after that the later authors understood the mistake and rarely repeated it. From then it was Pretty woman time, courtesy Julia or Lovely, Yami Gautam. The handsome role went to Shahrukh Khan who decided to be unfairly fair, and handsome. I hope that now there is no doubt, courtesy all those beauty product advertisements, that the way men can’t be lovely, fair or unfair, women can’t be handsome, unless they grow moustache and beard and decide to join the M-League.
  2. Dark skin tone is of course expected in this part of India, so that’s nothing very strange, or even need to be mentioned. Here I did, despite being called names, including racist, by activists like Ms Das. But I had to take the risk so that the standard phrase is not kept incomplete. I of course wonder what race has to do with skin colour? It could be but need not be, here at least you can’t identify people by the skin shade which caste or creed they belong to. They are naturally dark, and unnaturally any one could be my fair lady. 

She of course didn’t tell that she was scared, and hence took the shelter. The language barrier came in the way. I had been here for some time now, but still unable to pick up the language. I assume she would have been since she took shelter where a tall, dark and handsome young man (in fact none of the above) lived alone. Had it been all of the above, one could think her having some other motive. 

The situation inadvertently reminded me of Kishore’s famous song of Chalti Ka Naam Gadi, when Madhubala took shelter in his garage, from a similar downpour.

एक लड़की भीगी भागी सी, (A girl drenched to the skin)
सोती रातों में जागी सी  (Awake when the world slept)
मिली एक अजनबी से, कोई आगे ना पीछे (Met a stranger sans a chaperon)
तुम ही कहो ये कोई बात है  (What all is this?) 

दिल ही दिल में जली जाती है
बिगड़ी बिगड़ी चली आती है
झुंझलाती हुई, बलखाती हुई
सावन की सुनी रात में

डगमग डगमग लहकी लहकी
भूली भटकी, बहकी बहकी
मचली मचली, घर से निकली
पगली सी काली रात में

तन भीगा है, सर गीला है (her clothes are wet and so are her hairs)
उसका कोई पेंच भी ढीला है (Clearly some screw in her is loose) 
तनती झुकती, चलती रुकती (the way she boldly came out)
निकली अंधेरी रात में (alone in a dark night) 

It was all of the above- to the word.

Was she scared of me or was she “Sharmilee” ? (shy isn’t equal and doesn’t convey the meaning). Had she been fair in the colour and it wasn’t dark, I would have tried to see whether she could or would blush. But under the circumstances, her skin colour, trying to keep a distance and the red/yellow tinged light of the candle, that was ruled out. Only thing that I observed was that whenever she saw me in the vicinity, even if I wasn’t really trying to move towards her, she would try to get away from me, watching me with frightened eyes. Almost as if reminding herself, though not as playfully as Shakila,

Why I wondered and still do. I may not be as handsome as Pradeep Kumar, Amitabh, Rajesh or even Jeetu, but I am sure I don’t look like Amrish Puri or Premnath, leave aside Prem Chopra or Jeevan. Probably she was seeing the Prem in me, and getting scared? But if that was the case, then the later incidents become unexplainable. 

I didn’t have had any bad intention about her, but it looked she couldn’t believe I won’t have, after all she was in her first bloom of youth. The situations might have made her to be scared, who had forgotten even a hero, in Aradhana or Dhool Ka Phool, taking advantage of similar situation?

I am not sure she was adult or not. It is much more complex in India, since that varies as per different “Personal law”s. I didn’t ask her and I am not sure that, had I asked, whether she would have replied. Which woman or girl will if you ask her age? Especially with an express motive to know whether she was an adult or still juvenile? Even in her innocence had she, whether I would have understood? I am yet to pick up the language. As I said I didn’t have any intentions of harming her, but she probably wasn’t experienced enough to differentiate between the criminals and the Judges. It is also quite possible that she thought that they are both equal, since both of them kill.

Whatever may be the reason after some time, when the rain and the storm stopped and I opened the door. Without saying a goodbye (leave alone a goodbye kiss) she left. Was I disappointed and heartbroken? That’s for others to guess.

A tragic ending to a budding romance?

No,
The next day, there were no thunders and nor were there the rains, but I suddenly saw her making a visit.

For a thank you? I would have thought so, since as I said she didn’t say, or did, thank you, goodnight or goodbye before she left. She had left as silently and mysteriously as she came then as well as the way she landed up now.

Had I presumed it, the guess would have been wrong since this time too she didn’t give any verbal, nonverbal or physical thank-you. In fact in the broad daylight she seemed to be even more shy of me, than she was last night, when it was semi-dark.

She stayed for some time and then left the way she came, silently.
Why? I was getting puzzled, probably she wanted to thank, but didn’t have the courage or composure, I assumed.

Anyway she was gone now, I sighed. Relief or regret? Who knows.

Was she?
No the next morning again she was back. This time I was forced to wonder whether she was all-right in her mind?

She again came in silently stayed for some time and then left through open door when she saw me watching her closely. To be honest I wasn’t only watching, but even trying to get close to her, though still without any bad intention, but she probably didn’t guess or believe that (bad intention part). Why should a man, even a old one, try to try to get close unless…

To be fair, there is of course the probability that she found that I didn’t have the bad intention, and that’s why she left, disappointed. 

In a Bengali movie, Barnali, something similar was said by the heroine. 

A nuptial was about to start that the heroine (she isn’t the bride) has come to attend. The hero doesn’t want her to go there. The groom is her boyfriend, and incidentally hero’s friend. Unaware to her, she still thought that they are betrothed and soon going to marry, her boyfriend was betraying her for dowry, and the hero being hero didn’t want her to be shocked, or may be he didn’t want a scene there (the bride was his first-cousin, and groom his close friend).

He invited her- to his home alone- probably he doesn’t like her to stay safe, in the crowd.

However being hero, Soumitra, promised, I won’t say or do anything, that could be termed as immodest, to you” (Amaryada – nearest could be immodest)
In that case what is the point of my going with you?” The heroine, Sharmila, asked. 

Probably she believed that a song, suitable to the occasion, would be started by me, and then she would join. But I didn’t try to sing or even hum,

By the way, the place where I live is in the bank of a river, in the a back-waters and being near the river mouth is wide one. The song wouldn’t have been out of place, only if… 

That’s was not the end…
Coming out of the screen, into real world, it was not our last rendezvous. She made a few more visits. The way she was insistent, it was clear that she wanted me to have bad designs on her. Otherwise when I shut the front door firmly on her as she left, why would she go around the building and come in through the kitchen door? When I kept even that closed why would she be loitering in the Verandah?

Of course it was all in the day time but her intentions seemed to be suspicious. She clearly was much more than simply attracted to a person old enough to be her father, that too many times over.

This pursuance and almost stalking by her made me scared….

What if I forget to close the door properly one night and find her in my bed, lying beside me?

She hadn’t of course shown any intentions to go physical, but that was as of now, in future when she became desperate? Who knows?

The only thing which gave me some confidence was, that after the first night, she never visited in subsequent ones and limited her visits to daytime only. Probably her parents or guardians were restrictive and won’t allow her staying out at night.

I could have followed her to find her dwelling, but I thought it might not be proper, at my age and station to chase her that too in broad day light. 

Somehow those four nights passed by, and now there is light- even at night, so she can’t surprise me any more, even in the bed.

I seem to recall that I had quite some time back seen her. Then she wasn’t this shy and scared, but a rather short tempered youngster. Had she grown up from a young child to a young lady, and the characteristics modesty smothered her temper? Or it wasn’t she but her younger sister. If it was she, she had designs on me for quite some time.

In fact quite some time back I have seen an elderly, but similar featured lady. Her mother? May be. Am I the chosen one, and she is visiting my place with the permission from her parents? I don’t think so, they can’t be that permissive to let their daughter play with fire.

To end the love story, to my relief, she didn’t come back again, and it is around four or five days since her last visit, may be she found some more attractive Mana Mohana, armed with a flute to justify the name. Anyway at my age I didn’t want her around. 

Right she was one of that, though being a modern one, she couldn’t take human-form. Not hooded, she was one of the more frequent, Kraits. Though she isn’t back for few days, but I am prepared, just in case. But don’t worry, I won’t harm you, I didn’t earlier either. That goes even if you kiss me, it would be my error not your.