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Showing posts from May, 2007

A quick tale 187

Same song

I had forgotten all about 'us'. The heady giddiness of our love. And all that. Until this morning when I heard 'our' song. A song we had simply claimed ours because it suited our mood, our season. I marvelled at how dramatic we had been in our proclamations. I wondered, just fleetingly, if you ever heard the song and remembered me. May be as you tuned the radio on your way to work one morning. As the last strains of the song seeped in, do you pause before you start the car? Do you raise your eyebrows like you used to and shake your head as you recalled those days? Do you close your eyes, rest your head on the steering wheel and wonder, just briefly, where I might be? Or if I have tuned into the same station, perhaps?

A quick tale 186

When her steely resolve melted

She can remember the last time it happened. 20th August 2001. It was exactly two days before she found out about calories and suchlike. Ever since she learnt that she would have to powerwalk for 35 minutes to burn the calories from one vadai, she hasn't touched one. Of course, she has the odd bite (more like a smidgen of a crumb of a bite) every now and then. But straightaway she would start to walk furiously until she was satisfied that the offending crumb had been sweated off. And her body had been restored to its pre-vadai caloric state.

That was until today when she visited her sister-in-law who, as it often happens in stories likes this, was frying masal vadais for tiffin. Go on, have one, urged the sister-in-law, as she placed a plate of deliciously golden vadais in front of her. You can always exercise later, she suggested. Under such compulsion, our lady's steely resolve melted and she found herself biting into a vadai. It was as if the ye…

A quick tale 185

When her knees buckled and she sat down on the pavement

Finally, all it took was a jar of mango pickle. Let me take you back eight months. To when she first received news of her admission to that university abroad. Boy, was she thrilled! To be rid of this claustrophobic society. And its insanely archaic rules for women. She was no longer answerable to anyone. She could do as she pleased. Wear what she wanted. Go where she wished. And if she was lucky, she would even find a man. Fall in love. Kiss him in public. No more worrying about her dad finding out. No more lying about 'combined studies' at her best friend's house. A vision of paradise rolled out in front of her. And she could barely wait to get started.

She cheerfully waved them goodbye. Sentimental fools. Look at them waving back while wiping their noses on their sleeves. And just like that, she was away. The new country was everything she had dreamed of. The stubbornly huge cars, the aching tall buildings, the painfu…

A quick tale 184

We hugged and he let go

His bags were packed and weighed. Passport? Yes. Tickets? Yes. I didn't want to go to the airport. What is the point of protracted goodbyes? He came to me. We hugged. He let go. Call me when you've reached. I will. He stood there just looking at me. A tiredness crept into my eyes. I just wanted him to leave. When will I see you again? He smiled a sad smile. I thought I had asked the question in my head. We both knew the answer to that question.

A quick tale 183


You are a self-confessed atheist, I know. At first, it was a cool thing to be. I'm an atheist, you told a baffled aunt when she offered you prasadam from Tirupati. You laughed as she shook her head in weak disapproval. Them and their stupid belief in God. You wouldn't even write it that way. With a capital 'g'. Them and their stupid belief in god. You spent hours gathering evidence to support your claim. You surrounded yourselves with fellow atheists. And found a new faith in collective conviction.

Until one day, in a crowded market when, without your realising how, she slips out of your grasp. You look down and she's gone. Just like that, melted away. Your eyes dart furtively, scanning the milling crowds for that familiar shape who has come to dominate your life the past three years. With every passing second, your mind grows crowded with stories of kidnapped and tortured children. Of kids who were sold to Arab sheikhs for camel racing. Of those who were mu…