Little things go unnoticed. Like a sentence left unfinished. A touch unnoticed. A kiss almost distracted till its nothing but a quick brush. We rationalize it and why wouldn’t we? We are in love. And we simply are too busy securing us a future we dreamt about. Only we no longer dream, no longer communicate.
Silence that was once so comforting had become oppressive and then a habit. Words now are almost an afterthought. Nah! Don’t judge me too soon. Its not that I am complaining. I have nothing to complain about. We are happier than most. We can still claim to have a successful marriage. Thats better than most. And we almost never fight. Sometimes I simply wish we did!
Here we are , together, in this rain,at mercy of the rains and traffic. Trapped.
Once, we used this time to cuddle, to whisper sweet nothings.. to dare each other to break the rules of propriety and tease. Ah the sweet delicious touch that is hidden from the unprying eyes of the driver. He trying not to look back at the love struck couple who seem to be acting like a teenagers. Smiling stupidly, looking away shyly. And that open throated, pot bellied laughter full or notorious glee. Eyes hungrily savoring each other, lips taut with the unspoken promise of what awaited yet, on the periphery baiting time.
Clothes flung away hastily as hands explored hungrily. Unabated passion that raged all night only to be reawakened in the day. An unslathed hunger that kept us busy all weekends. Plans broken, forgotten.. excuses fabricated guiltily to friends, families, missed calls… And then blaming everything on the rain..
Nights spent listening to the splotches… drinking hot chocolate. Beneath the blanket wrapped in each others arms reading a novel together… Forgotten. Responsibilities.. Duty.. Career.. Success.. sucking everything away slowly unknowingly, until we became this sterile strangers.. you with your laptop busy typing out an email and me, staring out of the window looking at those young couples who are busy getting drenched, chasing each other in the rain…
My eyes hesitatingly seek respite in your welcoming gaze, only they are busy behind the sleek spectacles that time has gifted you with. I gaze at you for some more time. Nature has been really kind with you. Those crinkly laughing eyes are still honest and clear.. And the hair pickled with dusty grey is by and large quite black. You may have lost your youthful structure however the dignified stance is still the same. The ever ready to smile mouth too. And then you look at me amusedly and smile. I smile back and look outside again. Remembering old times.
Unerringly, in few moments my eyes return. There are new wrinkles on your face. The wedge that forms on your forehead, the worry lines , they give almost a sharp beak like look to your nose. You havent noticed yet. An errant little drop has sneaked into the window and rested precariously on the tip.I wonder what you would do if I simply bend and kiss it away ? Would you be surprised, irritated or glad? I wish I’d know. Its surprising really, how years together are supposed to make you come closer. Ten years down the line, I would have been absolutely sure about your response. And now, I simply don’t know.
Life with its twisted ironies. You impatiently look at the watch and ask the driver how much longer will it take. As if he is clairvoyant. He simply says its any body’s guess. There is a tree that has fallen down and has to be cleared. The workmen have not arrived yet. You look out of the window to see how far does this Jam go. In a moment you give up. And then, thinking about something you open the door and step out.
For a wild moment my heart skips. You are getting wet in the rain and would be asking me to join soon. But you walk away. Listlessly I ask the driver to turn on the radio. And suddenly I am transported to days that was. Vividly remembering how it was. God indeed has a dark sense of humor. They were playing old romantic songs. To suit the mood. Remember the times when we used to sing together on the terrace, getting wet together staring into each others eyes. Secure in the knowledge that no one is as crazy as us to be out in the wet. Secure that no one would notice us. And the pouring rains muffling our sounds until its an hazy whisper.. we never did complete any song. Other thoughts soon clouded our minds and we got distracted.. singing in between, broken verses, teasing.. and yet so reaffirming..
“Welcome to Aapka show Aapki host on X FM the only radio station that caters to your every mood. Mein hoon Avantika aapki pyaari dost. Aapki host. Aur aaj hamare saath hai Natasha. Natasha ko kon nahi jaanta? Aap sabhki humari sabhse pyaaru RJ. Yeh aaj mere saath aapke phone call lengi attend karengi aur aap sabse baatein karengi.. toh jaldi se apna phone uthayiye aur humara number dial kijiye.. humara number hai.. #%$^%&&* “
I was jolted out of the reverie by her voice. I noticed that you had not returned and driver had stepped out too. You both were sitting by the roadside tapri and having hot tea.
Natasha. Remembered how I was jealous of her voice? For you used to stop whatever you were doing to just listen to her saying.. “Hello and Good morning everyone! This is Natasha buzzing you from…. “ You knew I was jealous. You found it so silly that you teased me about it all the time.. Its been years since you have done that. Tried to listen to her voice. I tried to woo you. I used to increase the volume when she came up. She came sparingly, as if she knew, we had no time for play. The tapriwala had a radio. I wondered now that you are free would you listen to her again ? Would you then mischeiviously look at me and wink ?
There your ears perked up. You may have not noticed.. but they do so like a receiver buzzing with signal.. Gramaphone. I used to call you that to rile you up.
I remember my first conversation with Natasha. You had called her up on our aniversary from the airport. The first one of ours that was spent away. I had tuned into it hoping to feel closer to you. I knew if you could you wouldn’t miss her show. And knowing that even if you missed, you would be happy that I listened for you. It was such a shock to hear your voice. It was silly really I thought you have come back. I rushed to the door when I heard “ I want to tell her that I love her the most in this whole wide world.. I could have said it over the phone but I want everyone to know and that I wanted her to know that everyone knows that…” I couldn’t help but smile as tears streamed down my eyes. The joke. No one else can get it but you and me. I suppose that is what marriage is all about. A secret code. Hidden glances. Unspoken words. It was magic. It was perfect even when I knew you are going away and won’t be near for quite sometime. Has it gone lost? Jaded? Can it not be caught again ? I wondered what you were thinking right at this moment. Were you remembering too ? Or were you too pissed about missing your 7 o clk news? After all you were a creature of habit and detest any changes in it… But may be, the fire can be rekindled?
On an impulse I tried to call her up. It must be a omen . Her coming on air after all these years and her sultry voice reminding of all that was. I was lucky. I got connected. And I told them a story. Of a rain trapped evening and how two souls entwined forever in a song. They were so drowned in it that they could never sing it till the end. Though both knew it by heart and have listened to it many an evenings together but they have never sung it to the last. For to have sung it till the end meant that evening was complete. And they can never let that evening turn into the night. And then I requested that song… Slowly the tunes of Rimjhim gire saavan.. sulag sulag jaaye mann…. mingled with the welcoming drops/
I knew that song will get you back to the car, besides me. And now, I can see you walking towards me. I knew the magic was never lost. It was forgotten. But like those hidden embers all it needed was a gentle breeze and it blazed and throbbed like a fire.