Monday, July 17, 2006


It has almost been two hours since you left for work. I guess you’re going to be late again- like you have been for most of this week. It is always like this, the week before you head abroad for your on-site projects. I remember you telling me that this trip is going to be shorter. Yes, they have become shorter, a few weeks at most, but a lot more frequent.

Have you seen the hibiscus in our backyard lately? They have come out quite well. The red seems so, so… intimate. It’s a pity though the chrysanthemums failed this year. As did the Zinnias. But I am very pleased with my work. I know you’ll notice, once you manage to get away from the laptop and the sitcoms on TV.

I am sure you’ve even forgotten that our house has five rooms now, just for the two of us. Four of them to take turns to sleep in, and that one big hall, where I spend most of my time. Not like the little studio apartment we moved into when you began working. Sometimes at night I walk around the house. After you’ve gone to bed, after I hear you snore softly into your pillows when I walk past your door in the dark, after the Guptas have switched off their lights, after the Mahajans’ daughter has been dropped back from some party. I walk in the dark, from one room to another. Two nicely made beds. Unslept in months. I feel happy as I realize how well you’re doing for yourself at work to be able to afford this house for us. Sometimes I think of suggesting you to buy this one. But then … things are so complicated right now.

Have you noticed, how few people come visiting us these days?

(I forgot to tell you that the agency lady called last evening. I think the new lady should be coming in tomorrow. She seems nicer than the previous one, doesn’t she?)

I have trouble remembering things lately. I guess my medicines were of some use after all. I haven’t taken the pills from the red bottle in two weeks. The other one, the one that doctor said I couldn’t afford to miss if I wanted to avoid being sent away, I still take. I have this feeling that you’re going to be wild.

But there are things I do remember clearly.

I remember when we were kids, and I used to tell you that we’d be married and live in the same house with our respective spouses. And party all the time. And always have quorum for carom. I guess this was what you had in mind when we moved in here. When we were kids… aha… seems so distant now.

I recall the night you, after years of living in denial, after many men in white coats, after numerous referrals, finally began to believe the diagnosis. That it could happen to me, that everything could be normal, and yet not quite. That life would never be the same again. That my mental disorder was for real, and not just a random case of short attention spans. And that it was degenerative. How you brought me back from Delhi, and locked yourself up in the bathroom for hours.

I remember that look in your eyes, when Maa died, in the same manner as Baba- quietly in bed, in grief, knowing that after me there would be no next of kin. The cold look, that held a steely resolve, which told me that I wouldn’t be taken away and locked up somewhere.

And how about your absolute conviction that I should do the household chores, buy the groceries, the meat, the vegetables, oversee the maid, the laundry, the cooking. Almost as if so that you could tell the world, and yourself, that I was paying for my subsistence. (And yes, I do remember how you held me once when I came back home, tears streaming, because I had lost the shopping bag and all my money, and how afterwards you made me go look for it.) That I should continue writing and sending it out. And that I should check the mail for replies. Have not written much lately, but like I said, I have been strangely distracted.

And I remember that infrequent string of men in the house. Don’t know how you met them. I think they worked with you or something. At least that cute guy Vikram told me he did. (He was quite nice- once tried to explain to me what work you did, and how you were the only woman on the floor and how I must be so proud of you.) And then some went inside with you. And I remember, standing next to your half-open door. In the dark, while our eyes met for a flash. The first time it happened, I saw shock- and I guess for a while you froze in the frenetic motions of passion. I remember how gradually, on subsequent occasions, that initial shock hardly lasted, and a pain took its place- a pain much deeper than I’ll ever feel. They probably didn’t even notice the slowing in the rhythm, the muting of the moans. No, I’m sure they didn’t.

These trips of yours are beginning to irritate me. I feel so lost with these women in the house. The last one talked so much over the phone that I just couldn’t work. She’d figured her husband was cheating on her, I guess, and by the time you returned I could’ve done a libretto on it. I wish you’d stop leaving me with these caretakers while you went away. I know it’s a part of the deal you cut with my doctor. I know, but sometimes I wish I could just tell them to sign somewhere and vanish for the day. But I don’t- I know you’ll be upset if you found out.

You know we’re getting on in years. In fact I can’t even say I’m in my early thirties. Lost that privilege two years back. And you, can barely do so- may be for a few more months. And then what? How much longer can we swim together in our dreamless little fishbowl? Have been asking myself that question often lately. There is way too much beauty in this world for you to ignore. I heard Sriraj had a baby girl. I quite liked that guy- a bit heavyset, but a great sense of humour. The two of you should’ve carried on. Wonder why you split? Or perhaps I do. Like the others. But the rest, they were just OK. I think by now you’re getting the drift.

Chhaya is not coming in today-I gave her the day off. Instead of having leftovers from last night, I had two bars of Toblerone. Don’t worry, there’s still one left for you in the refrigerator. And then I had some of that Stoli you got last time and then smoked one of your long Chinese cigarettes. It felt so, so good, and almost took me back to that special place, so far away. I shaved today, after your numerous reminders.

Like I said, you’ll be late from work today. And I am feeling very drained now. I guess it has something to do with the three thin lines I cut on my left wrist about an hour back. Which now dangles in the luke warm water of the bathtub next to me. Into which three rings of red spirals dissolve- not quite as deep as the hibiscus outside, but just as intimate. The razor might find it weird- its steel misplaced, against my soft brown skin. You will be berserk once you get back. Very, I guess. Somehow I don’t think you’re going anywhere in a long time. I hate myself for doing this to you, but much less than I despise myself for letting your dreams die.

I’m sure that you’ll play along, just this one last time.

(Dedicated to S and K, living in peace in their dreamless world. And with many thanks to G, who wanted in, anyway.)


shuchika said...

They probably didn’t even notice the slowing in the rhythm, the muting of the moans. No, I’m sure they didn’t.

loved it...intense and profound.

hope its not true...

reminded me of eestha and rahel from GOST.

The One said...

Thank God its not.

My favorite line though is "we'd always have quorum for carrom"


dazedandconfused said...

"How much longer can we swim together in our dreamless little fishbowl?"

Some Pink Floyd inspiration..?

You should write such stories more often.

shikha said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The One said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
shikha said...

The One:Must are quite a story teller..while this is a work of fiction i believe that fiction has its roots in the past present or aspirations...

The story gave me goosebumps by the time i reached the end!

shikha said...

The One..agreed that this is an awesome post...but dont we get to read more of you???Pl write!

Anonymous said...

I visit your blog regulary.. and love reading whatever u write..
U should write more often.. Haven't seen anythinn after 17th July, guess it's got to do with that ban on blogspot! But now that it's cleared, you should write something!!!!!

Anonymous said...

You need to write more often about me

The One said...

D&C: Its all inspired- and Pink Floyd is a strong cource

shikha: Thanks!

Anon1: Not writing had nothing to do with the ban on blogspot. Just too many things on my mind right now, and not stuff that I can blog about yet.

Anon2: Is that you?

Anonymous said...

Yes of course it is me; don't be daft. And write flattering things.

Searcher said...