Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Fireflies at my window - II

His parents were going somewhere, so could we kindly give him breakfast, dinner and lunch. Yeah- throw in a bed and a shower too! There were innumerable houses in the colony, then why us, I asked Valiamma a thousand times.

“No one likes him”, I told her.

“I do.”

I looked around horrified. I hoped no one from the other houses heard that.

“I do too”, my 17 year old cousin added.

I was living with a family of traitors.

“He doesn’t wash himself”, I hoped that would turn Valiamma’s mind against him. She didn't react.

“No one in his school talks to him. He eats lunch all by himself. He just doesn’t have any friends” I wrung my hands in frustration trying to get the point across to my just turned terrible family!

I continued, “He even steals books from the library”. That was a total lie and I don’t know to this day why I said something like that!

He never rang the calling bell, that day I discovered. I saw him stand at our door with the newspaper in hand. I wish I was an ostrich or something- so that I could have buried my face into the sand!!!

He slunk away as he slunk in. But I saw him. And he knew I saw him.



“Go and call Anoop for breakfast”, Valiamma told me next morning.

I acquiesced. The feeling of guilt was larger day by day and my shoulders stooped with the burden!

His house was locked. I walked back home and told Valiamma, “He’s gone to the library”. I had no clue where he was, but I knew a specific answer would help with the fact that I didn’t have to go Anoop hunting.

He didn’t turn up for lunch too. When asked to go and call him, I found the house locked still. I walked back home feeling terribler!

“He must have gone to his friend’s place for lunch”, my cousin reasoned.

He didn’t have any friends.

I walked slowly to the library in the afternoon sun. I walked past all the racks laden with books, down to the rack that was left unvisited by everyone. I found a lot of good books neatly arranged, waiting for me… waiting for someone who never came to take them.

I went back home and promptly told my cousin that Anoop had been kidnapped.

“Umm hmm…”, he replied busy preparing for the Kerala entrance.

I went and told Valiamma that Anoop had been kidnapped.

“Umm hmm…”, she replied busy pounding on the dough for dinner that night.

He didn’t have any friends.

I went and peeped into the old well in the backyard of his house. I saw a few old leaves floating on the water and walked back home.



Evening came and still no sign of Anoop. Only I was worried. I went into my room and opened the closed window.

That’s when I saw Anoop. He was sitting in his room. I stood by the open window and pressed my head against the cool rods. He was there.

He caught me looking at him. There was no reaction from him at all.

I went in and came back to the still opened window. Stretching out my hands through the narrow bars, I offered him a book.

I stood there holding the book out. He didn’t budge for a few minutes. My hands ached, but I still held it stretched out. He slowly got up from the bed he was sitting and walked towards the window and stretched out his hand.

My hands were too short. His hands weren’t long enough. Our windows weren’t arms distance away.

“I’m coming there”, I told him.

I rushed down with the book in hand and yelled to whoever cared to listen that I was going over to Anoop’s house. And walked over to his house. He opened the door before I could even ring the bell.

We sat on the steps in the terrace.

“Do people in Pondicherry talk French?”

I started on hearing his voice. “There are French people in Pondicherry”

“All of them don’t speak French?”

“No”

“But you do”

I didn’t. But I didn’t have the heart to contradict him- ever again.

“Yes I do”.

I mentally promised myself to pay more attention to Miss. Tapashi in French class.

The whole colony plunged into darkness. Daily power cut. We sat there in the dark.



“I watch the fireflies too”, he said.

I always left my windows open for the fireflies to come in.

“A European legend says that if a firefly flew in the window, someone was going to die”

I hastily made a note to myself that I better shut all the windows and not tempt those flies inside.

“I don’t steal books”

He almost killed me.

Thank god it was getting dark and he couldn’t see the tears. Tears that stood on the brim of my eyes hesitantly… like a bride… hesitant to cross the threshold and yet would…

“I like William”, I said as the tears fell down onto ‘Lila: An Inquiry into Morals’ that was on my lap… that being my way of saying a 'sorry' and a 'thank you'...

25 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't finally breathe... :o)

4:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I CAN! sheesh... mistake! :o(~

4:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

eek.. I made a mess... sowie... *taking a piece of cloth and wiping* *sob* it won't go!!! :_( sowie..

4:44 AM  
Blogger manuscrypts said...

at least u closed a loop that day.. read a story by pleo and another one by kraz where the loops werent closed...thats a sadder thing, i guess...

5:21 AM  
Blogger Pleomorphous said...

I do not know if it is because of my state of mind today, but the end brought a small lump to my throat.

I wonder what Manu meant by "not closing a loop"...

7:13 AM  
Blogger cactusjump said...

hey poornima - catching up on ur blog after a while - the kite story is amazing!

9:25 AM  
Blogger Just Me said...

This Part I, Part II concept is addictive.

Pardon me, but some of your stuff reminds me of American Beauty. Do you, by any chance, have a friend resembling Mena Suvari ?

4:01 PM  
Blogger hope and love said...

oh..!! soooo cute.. i feel like hugging both of you babies..
:-))
in my case the communication gaps have persisted.. leaving a sweet lingering pain..

8:34 PM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Fadia: Lol!

Manu: Kraz is always an inspiration...

Pleo: Manu meant an unsaid end I guess, where after realization dawns you cant go back and make amends... I dont really know...

Cactusjump: Welcome back.

Just me: It was way too long to post as one read.

I had to google up on who Mena Suvari was. And I still cant form her picture in mind thanks to the blond, silver, black, brown and mahogany hair color she seems to be sporting! A different hair color every different picture!!!!

And with my limited observation... no... I dont think I have any friend who looks like her.

Hope and love: Babies? I am 24 and he's 26 now!!! :o))

9:03 PM  
Blogger Praveen said...

I was expecting a second part to this, and whats more its better than the first.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Pleomorphous said...

That's what I thought too. But life does not come with a scroll-back buffer...

11:32 PM  
Blogger TinTin said...

christ!! u are intense! do u make up these stories or do they really happen...surely ur life can't be this melodramatic all the time ;)

2:47 AM  
Blogger hope and love said...

24 and 26..?!!
you ARE babies..
:0))

4:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey love

got that lovely note of urs...thanx..and dear .... lovely stuff again....

7:14 AM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Praveen: I think I should post in parts hereafter!

Pleo: Sadly it doesnt.

Tintin: Maybe I only post the happening bits of my life. I'm sure you wouldnt want to read about what I do at work- or what I dont, my bland social life at the moment... Well, let's keep the picture more colorful, what say?

Hope and love: Mummy doesnt think so!

Anon: I only wish you were older!!

9:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Had the pleasure of sampling these lovely bits when they were being 'groomed'!! ;o)
Nice story...and yeah! good that its got a nice ending...but! hell! plz don't make 'Singin in the Rain' melodramatic....eagerly waiting to read.... ;o)

1:33 AM  
Blogger hope and love said...

thats cos she is ur mummy..
:0))

9:04 AM  
Blogger arvindiyer said...

OK Then who's your daddy? *scratches head* we are not playin that game here are we? Damn!!
Yanyways..The posts are gettin intense by the day and I don't even have words to describe the comments...You write well..You really do..
Now I know the reason for not hearin from you all these days..These posts in parts sure are takin a lot of your time!! Good job nonetheless!! Peace

11:52 AM  
Blogger Kraz Arkin said...

Loops and spool are mirror words. Just a random thought actually while wondering about Manuscrypts comment. Richmal Crompton was always one of those unsung heroes no? But I've never heard of this Lila book. Crossword puzzles you should take up again. And as usual well written post - though I was hoping for a whole Anoop-kidnapped-desert island-famous five-daring rescue kind of story. Damn Enid Blyton.

1:02 PM  
Blogger aks said...

hey poornima.....
a very well scripted post...ur choice of a simple language has well woven ur amazing thoughts...gr8 work...

5:36 AM  
Anonymous Suresh said...

"I didn’t. But I didn’t have the heart to contradict him- ever again."

most of the things in life are simple and are beautiful because they are so....like the cluster of words above...i think nothing else could have explianed better what went through your mind then...too good...i say!!!

5:37 AM  
Blogger mannu said...

i hate sundays , u know why!! :p

6:28 AM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Sharat: This is what happens if you sit beside me at work!

Hope and love: Mummy!

Arvind: Sigh! The mail is in my computer at home! And I didnt go home this weekend! You'll hear soon.

Kraz: It came as a huge shock to me when I discovered the Richmal Crompton was a woman!

Lila

Recuse and island! I wish something as exciting as that happened.

Kraz, dont damn Enid Byton. She made childhood so much more fun.

Aks: Thank you.

Suresh: Simplicity and the beauty in it huh?

Mannu: Why are you wailing?

8:45 PM  
Blogger Vimal Gasper said...

beautiful, cute and touchy...

8:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I STOLE BOOKS FROM ALL THE LIBRARIES I EVER SET MY FOOT IN

I AM ANONYMOUS THIS TIME

1:35 AM  

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