Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A story without an end - II

Another meeting, another place…

That was Calcutta, not the distant Kolkata then. Walking down the Park Street on a steamy wet August...Moulin Rouge and The Park... the Oxford Bookstore... the discount basement. Chilled beer and beef steak at Olympia..

What now? __ said, sipping Foster's. The finals were over. And a blank future ahead. Studies were that comfortable cocoon.

I took the last piece of morsel in, and...

Here I am, an old man in a dry month,
Being read to by a boy, waiting for rain...

__ hated impromptu espousals of poetry.

It was indeed a rainy day in Calcutta. Late April. When all of a sudden the sky gets pregnant with rain clouds. And for days the humidity reaches astounding levels. Squelchy underfoot and the acrid odour of perspiration.

__'s technicolour umbrella was the brightest spot in the whole of Park Street as the neons hadn't come on. We walked down in contemplation.

We are going nowhere, she said, visibly miffed.

I looked up at the sky – it was dark and cumuly -- and just about managed to avoid stepping on a poodle.

I was avoiding another confrontation.

The somnolence of park Street gave way to commotion when we reached the Mallickbazar crossing. It was time to part. I wanted to say something. Did I? The No. 234 arrived before I could think of anything to say. There it is, I said. And __ vanished into the crowded bus.

For quite some time I stood there. Lit a cigarette. Time seemed to be stretching on. Till, I felt a sharp drop on my shoulder. I looked up -- the clouds were already bursting. Rains again. Why the hell does it rain so much? Tiny rivulets were already taking shape, the crows were ruffly wet and the sewer hole bubbling. Now -- pieces of shit burst out as if they were waiting for redemption. And the coming was heralded with a crack of lightning.

I took shelter under an umbrella shop. Ali and Sons. Estd 1954. We do repair jobs also. All black huge umbrellas. Virtual canopies. Not like __'s technicolour one, which she bought in Nepal.

I stood there as the clouds burst and raindrops danced on the washed-off road. A maze of umbrellas passing by in a hazy blur and buses spraying up the poodle waters. Crows cawing in pandemonium.

My eyes were suddenly locked on to a woman standing in front of me. No. Wait. Do I know her? Yes I do. A few strands of hair sticking to the shoulder... the water turning the green blouse into a darker shade at places. A bit of soggy petticoat sticking out near the toes. The finely crafted stilletos half-submerged in water.

Have I seen you somewhere? I could feel the rush inside me.

She turned. She looking more than her age as she was in a sari. She had high cheekbones and sported a large bindi. She hadn't changed much, I thought.

Hey! __! She let out a startled cry in that husky voice of hers.

The Ali & Sons owner, with not much to do, was observing the chance encounter -- a smile perched somewhere near the corner of his lips. So were the others who had taken shelter from the rain there.

__! I never knew you were in Cal?

Well…Here I am! I said. As usual, her in-your-face demeanour was making me squirm. From the corner of my eyes I could see the Ali & Sons crowd watching us. I stopped a taxi and we got in…


At 10:39 AM, Blogger vadahole said...

so friends, here we have the blog avatar of ekta kapoor. enjoy "fool bhi kabhi romantic fool thi"

At 11:20 AM, Blogger Ghetufool said...

got it, this girl must be the same who you tried to woo with your intellectual looks in Darjeeling.
i know what will be the end of it. after much of the tour, you will land us in your cosy little corner of your house.
the megaserial will end like this.
"...and so we married..."

At 11:57 AM, Blogger ace of spades said...

bheeghi bheegi (almost) raaton mein
aasi mulakaton mein
woh aayegi, aayegi !!!

so if ghtufool is right this was a monsoon wedding..

At 7:59 PM, Anonymous Hyacinth Girl said...

Oh come on, Fool, don't get romantic now.

green blouse
soggy petticoat
high cheekbones
large bindi

They sound more like your forte, dry and wry prose master

At 3:43 AM, Blogger The Marauder's Map said...

Pink, green, whatever. At last the petticoats are here.

P.S. You know who the person in green pcoat reminds me of? You know, right? You were thinking of her too, now admit?

At 3:51 AM, Blogger A fool on the hill said...

Vadahole: Now that is Kritikal appreciation!

Ghetufool: Barthes said the author is dead. So, it's up to you how you interpret the piece! ;-)

Ace of Spades: Welcome on board. Have you seen the video? Anupama Verma looks amazing there!

Hyacinth girl: Dry and wry? That was a great combination of words.

At 3:53 AM, Blogger Nana said...

Your detailing is much like a Malayalam art movie.
To be fair, you make the reader see not just read.
But what i hate is the abstract ending (Or is there a part III).
Don't ape Marquez!
And finally the description of the girl is too good to be fictional, getting nostalgic eh.

At 5:26 AM, Blogger A fool on the hill said...

Marauder's: To be frank, I wasn't. But after reading your comment, I realise she fits the bill! Great observation. And BTW, green blouse, not green pcoat. Colour details are always important.

Nana: But I really like Mallu art films. As far as Marquez is concerned, it might be the other way round! ;-)

At 5:37 AM, Blogger gypsy said...

good stuff is all i can say! :-) what is it about the rains that always makes us nostalgic? digging up stuff from years gone by! keep writing dude

At 4:20 PM, Anonymous Ph said...


At 2:51 AM, Blogger A fool on the hill said...

Gypsy: Thanks. Rains do seem to unlock lost memories.

ph: provoke, needle, annoy, badger...which form of tease?

At 8:20 AM, Blogger Chaila Bihari said...

Hmmmm Mama, dana badche... chaliye jao. And the locale was perfect — Mallikbazar.
Btw, have u been 2 the cemetery across the st, opp APJ?

At 9:19 AM, Blogger jarshad said...

The writing as always is good. I like my reading to have a dash of romance. But romance with a dash? ... somehow it affects the flow. I like names.

At 9:28 AM, Blogger Prerona said...

beautifully written! where have you been all this while ... lol I only just discovered your blog - its wonderful

misty memories, rainy days, flavours and smells or cal, the spirit, the lost days ... this post brought a lot of things back: from a long time ago. memories of young days

keep writing :)

At 9:36 AM, Blogger A fool on the hill said...

Chaila: Are you talking about Gourosthan Shaabdhaan? No, I haven't been there.

Jarshad: Thanks. Have to admire your play with words. But having a dash is better than the footnote: "All characters are purely ... blah blah"

At 9:48 AM, Blogger A fool on the hill said...

Prerona: Thanks for visiting the blog. The smells and flavours of Cal do leave an indelible imprint on the mind. You just can't shake them off.

PS: I like your ramblings, particularly the December post.

At 9:57 AM, Blogger Tridib said...

So, is there a part III, or not? Waiting in anticipation!!!

At 10:20 AM, Blogger A fool on the hill said...

Stay tuned! You never know what gems you may behold! ;-)

At 4:31 PM, Blogger Roshomon said...

Since popular demand got us part 2, waiting for part 3 now!

At 4:12 PM, Blogger Prerona said...

oh! thank you :)

At 4:13 PM, Blogger Prerona said...

i've been rambling rather a lot, lately!

At 6:10 AM, Blogger Chaila Bihari said...

Now, is this a cult read in the making? sniff, sniff

At 9:51 AM, Blogger Chaila Bihari said...

Hey... I didn't know how 2 tell u this so m posting it here... Guess what site ranks third on Google search for Hazaron Khwahishen Aisi...
It's www.thorswheels.blogspot.com

At 9:59 AM, Blogger A fool on the hill said...

Roshomon: Thanks. As for your question, refer to my answer to Tridib.

Prerona: Ramblings are what blogs are for! Carry on!

Chaila: Thanks for pointing that out.

At 2:17 AM, Blogger Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Oh-wow! This is turning up to be almost like a weekend episode of a novel that comes in the newspapers. Pray, go on please...

At 3:18 AM, Blogger kaushik said...

Its Friday and am eagerly awaiting part III

At 12:11 PM, Blogger Rimi said...

late on this one, but someone equalled you with ekta kapoor. dear lord, how i laugh! and how you must've blushed...

but, 234? did you live somewhere along the route?

At 2:33 AM, Blogger A fool on the hill said...

Sudipta: Thanks. And do keep reading the papers...oops.. the blog!

Kaushik: Friday. Part III. You make it sound like a ghost story!!!

At 2:35 AM, Blogger A fool on the hill said...

Rimi: 234 had such a serpentine route! And the bus used to be perenially crowded.

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