Saturday, November 24, 2007

Peck on the cheek

Today at 6.30 PM, Besant Nagar beach

"Sir Murukku Sundal". The small vendor kid at the beach kept pestering Abhishek who was engrossed looking at the relentless waves. When his trick failed to make any impact, he harbored to his last resort "Sir....buy it for the pappa. She will love it." He was referring to his 7 year old daughter, who oblivious to all these happenings around her was building a sand castle with the precision of an engineer.

It seemed like a penance to her. She was so focussed that Abhishek wondered if she even realized that he was looking at her craftsmanship without battling an eye lid. Irrespective of Vasthu or Feng Shui or anything, she decided on doors, window and facade based on her moods and whims. She looked proud as if she was preparing a blue print plan for the Twin Towers.

Just as he was admiring his daughter’s creativity and commitment, he saw a women far away playing with a child and a bald guy standing right next to her. His brain cells to answer one question.

Was it her?

21 years before Central Bus Stand Trichy

She said nothing. Usually she could talk non-stop for almost 100 words per minute, but today she chose to remain silent. It was a silence of mourning, silence of loss, silence of anger and a silence of helplessness. They went to the Rockfort temple, ate samosa and poli at Chinthamani's, saw a latest movie in Maris Theatre, ate ice cream at Michael’s and walked back to the Sattiram Bus Stand. It would be possibly the last time he would see her or talk to her.

This country was filled with hypocrites. We are the second most populous country on the face of the planet. This was the land which gifted Kamasutra to the world. And still most people behave as if men and women dropped from tree tops and not the "natural" way. When a man and woman talk outside, they had to be either lovers or siblings but could not be friends. The stares of the so called "society" are so narrow minded that it narrows the relationships to nothing.

For the past one month she had been avoiding him and he had been puzzled by that. One day he confronted her and asked her straight if she didn’t like him and his friendship. The answer was something that he had not expected. She had attained womanhood and so her strict orthodox parents were shifting her to a ladies boarding school somewhere in Ooty. At the outset it seemed ridiculous to him, but anyone who had known her orthodox family or parents would understand that there are people who still live in rock ages.

He had been her best friend for the past few years and the thought of a day without her seemed like the Mona Lisa painting without her smile. He saw her straight into the eye for one last time and nodded his head. He then presented her a pair of earrings he bought for her from his little pocket money. Tears flowed from her eyes and she walked away without a good bye.

He remembered how it had all started on one fine day of fighting.

30 years before at Mr. Ethiraj's Tuition Center

"May I come in Sir?" quizzed the little pony tailed girl and entered into the 600*600 room. She was wearing the pink colored checked uniform for girls with a new bata shoe. Seemed somewhat rich kid. The general practice being seated in the alphabetic order, she was seated next to Abhishek. He gave her a mean look. She had separated him from his dear pal Balaji with whom he had shared the bench for the past month. She had eyes like buttons, round cherubic face and a pony tail which hardly was held by a rubber band.

She gave him a warm smile and he smirked in return which showed clearly that he was in a hostile mood.
When Mr. Ethiraj went to drink water downstairs, he pulled her pony tail as an angry gesture.
"How dare you do that?" she squealed like a rat caught between the door.
He laughed. She was in pain and he enjoyed it.

Another half an hour later she yelled at him again.
"You took my Tom and Jerry eraser without asking me? How dare you do it?"
"What are you going to do? Squeak like Jerry?" he laughed at his lame joke as his friends joined in.

"I told you never to touch my bag without asking me." She was yelling at the top of her voice and was close to sobs.
Mr. Ethiraj just popped in and beat him with his customary thick stick.
He asked him to apologize to her and he realized that it was not her fault that she was seated next to him.

Then she introduced herself.

"Hi. I am Avanthi and I am new here. What is your name?"

Today at 6.40 PM

It was getting darker and they had to get home early. She looked at the sand castle by running around it and beamed which meant that she had accomplished her mission. Abhishek took a picture of the sand castle with his Mobile camera and showed it to her. She jumped and squealed as if she had won the Architect of the year award. They walked towards the parking lot when she started to run without any warning.

"Avanthi Stop. Dont run."

He had named her in memory of his long lost dear friend.

The women with the child turned back and looked at him.

He looked like someone familiar from her past.

15 comments:

Aparna said...

Nice :)

G3 said...

:) padithen rasithen :)

Anu said...

Once again kudos! beautifully written....

"When a man and woman talk outside, they had to be either lovers or siblings but could not be friends".... so true man... this must have been the way society was all those years ago.

" thought of a day without her seemed like the Mona Lisa painting without her smile"- what a comparison...

the school days part was very cute and natural... one could jus picture their own schooldays with that piece of conversation

priyaiyer said...

:) and :(....

didnt get the title, though...

?????

Hari said...

:)Nice story da! First let me congragulate you for all the writeups of yours. I landed here a few days back from some blog and have been kind of hooked to your earlier posts since then. I loved Ctrl+Alt+Del. By the way I guess the title and the beach setting in this post were inspired by Mani Ratnam's "Kannathil Muthamital"

But somehow I feel a few lines and emotions are being repeated across the stories and some sound cliched.If you could avoid that it would be wonderful.

Cheers!
Hari

DHIVYA ARASAPPAN said...

awesome!! You have a great storytelling style. A simple story that anyone could relate to, told in a beautiful way. Well done!

Vidya said...

True the society does look differently upon "friends". But we persist, don't we?

This is a very nice write up!


Vidya

Gayathri said...

"They went to the Rockfort temple, ate samosa and poli at Chinthamani's, saw a latest movie in Maris Theatre, ate ice cream at Michael’s and walked back to the Sattiram Bus Stand." Aaaahaa!!!

Ponnarasi Kothandaraman said...

Haa :) Nice post.. :)

Marutham said...

Lovely!!

"Someone fromt he past"

awwwwwwwwwwww

Harish said...

@Aparna
:-)

@G3
Nandri madam

@Anu
'this must have been the way society was all those years ago. "
Sorry to wake U up from a bad dream....but it exists still. :-(
Its based on real life personal experiences.

@Priya
I loved the image of a small boy kissing a small girl on her cheeks. It was so full of innocence and love. Pity grown ups are a different species :(

Harish said...

@Hari
Hi Boss. first of all welcome to my blog. Glad u liked it.
Trouble is that there are 1000s of stories...but only 9 emotions :(. Maybe I am not skillfull enough to play around with words. Will try to be as much different as possible :)

@Dhivya
Thanks yaar. I try my best :-)

@Vidya
If we keep fearing society for everything we do....perhaps we would only live and die out of fear.

@Gayathri
:-)

@Pons
Thanks yaar :-)

@Marudu
Glad U loved it kutty sis :-)

Heidi Kris said...

you always get my eyes moistened!

prithz said...

Awwww! So cute but sad :(

Dimplicious said...

Hmmm lovely...too gud..sad it happens even nw...Well-written!!!