Monday, July 29, 2013

How She Met Him: The Jump

She raised herself on tip toes. Stretching her right hand to the maximum height, she knew she could not be taller than this. But she tried to get in one more inch, anyway. You could tell that the strain had begun to hurt her. The muscles of her thighs were as tout as they could be. Any medical expert would have told you that just a fraction more of stress and her muscles would tear up. Her legs had begun to tremble. But her resolve was not shaking. The right hand, stretched in the air, was just centimetres away from the intended target. Being in that position for longer than her body could take and the staring match that she was engaged in with the stone wall ensured that tears were streaming down her cheeks. Despite her years, standing like this, she looked like a school student punished by a teacher for creating a ruckus in class. Like a stubborn child, who wanted to prove to the teacher that a severe punishment was not enough to tame the wild personality, she continued her endeavour to stretch beyond the limitations of her height.

Sweat started to drip down her spine. The black t-shirt that had seemed like a good option in the morning, when she had slung her camera bag over her shoulders and left her house, was now sticking to her like second skin. The denims seemed to have absorbed all the humidity of the day and had turned into a stiff version of themselves. Had she known earlier that the desire to touch would engulf her to this extent she would have given more thought to her attire. However, at this moment nothing mattered but just her goal—to feel the cold, yellowing stone under her fingers.

He was there, jogging like he did daily. The rhythm of the jog worked like a mantra to invoke the ruthless strategist in him. Every day of every week, except on Sundays, he would take the circuitous route that seemed to run along the ruins of the tombs like a silk ribbon wrapped around a box holding an expensive gift. The rhythm reminded him of clocks and he liked to believe that he was a machine—solid, predictable and dependable. Being a machine helped him distance himself from emotions which in the past had on several occasions got the better of him. When dealing with the thirty- something-himself, he was like a strict class monitor, who believed that the honourable thing was to maintain order even if it meant losing a few friends by altering the course a little.  Even if he felt like taking a different route on his morning jog sometimes, he resisted the temptation and continued on the path like, you guessed it, a machine!

However, today was different. He had been thinking of something and had changed the route without even realising it. He could not remember what was on his mind, as he stood, resting his hips on one of the broken stone walls of the ruins. He could not even recollect the moment when he stopped staring in the vacant space and started looking at that girl who was trying to achieve the impossible. He did not remember when he had started rooting for her success. When his casual stance had changed and his body had tensed as much as hers. He had concentrated all his energies to ensure that if he had to, he would will her to touch the stone she was aiming at. It was important to her, that much was clear by the effort she was putting into it. Why it was important for him that she touched the stone was a mystery.

She had come to the monument with the aim of clicking some photographs for a project she was working on. She had stood there staring at the calligraphy on the walls that had been built hundreds of years ago. Oblivious to the crowd of early morning walkers and photography enthusiasts around her, she stood looking at the walls for what seemed like an eternity. She did not know how to read the language of the inscriptions but the need to understand their meaning had consumed her in a flash. No logical reason could explain why she felt that she would understand the meaning by merely touching the calligraphy on the cold, yellowing stones. But only the fulfilment of this need made any sense to her at that moment.

He could see her strain. He was also battling, battling very hard, the urge to go near her and help her achieve what seemed impossible. Something had connected him to her. He was yet to see her face but he was attracted to her. He was sure that she was not even aware of his existence. But that did not matter. He knew he was strong. She seemed strong willed. They would make it work. Their combined energies would help her become at least an inch taller. She would touch the inscriptions on the stone.

Even as he willed his energies to her, she let her hand fall. She suddenly stooped low; her hands nearly touching the ground; knees bent. Like a rocket launching into space, she launched herself in the air. He followed her with his steady gaze, almost as if giving her momentum. To him it looked like everything was happening in slow motion. The tip of her finger touched the embossed calligraphy on the wall. She emitted a sound that was neither a scream nor a laugh, yet both. That sound was beautiful to him. Mid-air, she flung her head back, a big smile on her face. He too smiled and took a deep breath realizing for the first time that he had been holding his breath for the jump. His eyes closed as his smile widened. There was a loud sound. People froze in their paths for a few seconds. And before he knew it, he rushed to her side. Helping her up, he took her camera bag from her and took out the water bottle for her as if he had himself packed the bag for her.

The excitement of touching the calligraphy inscription on the stone wall and the fall left her a little bewildered. She followed his lead and let him help her without any questions or hesitation. Her reverie broke when she heard him ramble, almost to himself, “I’m sorry. I closed my eyes and lost contact. Then you fell. It’s all my fault. I’m really sorry.” Despite her bruised knee which was now starting to bleed and the aches that had started to surface, she burst out laughing and said, “I’ll forgive you after a cup of coffee and few painkillers.”

Friday, July 19, 2013

Seven years have gone by

The new, shiny, green iPod nano sits pretty on her desk, while a song from her past plays in her ears. She never plays this song on her own. The shuffle option, it seems, is like a time machine that has managed to take her back in time. She sees her younger self talking animatedly with her best friend, sharing half a burger, at Nirula’s in Yusuf Sarai. She looks at the two girls, yet to know what life has in store for them. She remembers, her friend was always the voice of sanity. She, on the other hand, was hell bent to ensure that her life did not have a single dull moment.

Seven years have passed since that July of first love and first break up. The two events happened in quick succession. The period of love had lasted just as much as an average Band-Aid stays on a cut on the finger. Her best friend had slapped her on the day of her last exam just so that the stupid grin would wipe out from her face. But her grin was so wide that she looked like a hanger was fixed in her mouth. And when things had gone kaput, the best friend was there, sitting with her, hugging her, while she bawled like a little baby at the steps of the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara.

Seven years. A lot of things have changed. Forget about the same city, they don’t live in the same continents anymore. The time difference and the distance ensure that they hesitate before calling each other. There is a hesitation even in asking each other basic questions. One is married, with a beautiful child. The other, even seven years after it happened, continues to find her way through the maze that love, relationships and all the other peripherals create. They talk on the phone sometimes. The pauses are longer. Talks less impulsive and spontaneous. The love is there. The sound of laughter resonates even when they discuss insignificant stuff like the latest Punjabi movie to hit the theatres. But something is missing.

The song ends. A new song begins. She is back to the present. Eyes a little moist. A smile lingering in the shadows. She wonders, would we become friends, if we met each other for the first time now?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

I want to bleed

I want to bleed
Just so that I can feel
Crying no longer helps me emote
I hope
Blood just might

The colourless, salty water
Does not connect me to anyone
The red, thick
Liquid just might

As luck would have it
The blunt knife doesn’t work
A pen catches my eye
The blue
Ink just might

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Of Anil Kapoor's hair, blogs and money

With the prices of petrol increasing as fast as hair on Anil Kapoor’s body, all bloggers, including yours truly, are finding new ways to increase their income. I searched far and wide and decided anything that pops in your face and keeps my readers away from photographs and posts was not going to be a part of either of my blogs. Thankfully, two of my favourite websites—Flipkart and Amazon—came to rescue. Half an hour of clicking, filing forms and selecting widgets, and I have found a perfect solution. Every perfect solution like the perfect murder needs an accomplice. So please agree to be an accomplice and every time you plan to buy anything from Flipkart or Amazon, log on to my blogs:
I have signed up for Flipkart’s affiliate program, and every time you buy something after clicking from the link given on the right side bar on Delhi Photo Diary (within the same session), I get a small percentage of your purchase. Win-win!
2. Amazon
I am also an Amazon associate, so every time you click through the links given on Delhi Photo Diary and Priyanka’s Point (right side bars) and buy something on Amazon (within the same session), I get a small fee.
So please route all your shopping through my blogs and ensure that I go to more places, get more photos and pen more stories.

Thanks a lot!