Thursday, August 04, 2005

Now and then

I don’t know if I would have felt the same had it not been raining. Wringing the rain from my wet skirt, I frantically looked for a place to sit. Class had begun. Foreign language. I was going to learn how to write Malayalam.

It was your smile that beckoned me and it was the space that you made for me beside you on the wooden bench in our makeshift classroom that made me take it. A leaky roof and water that dripped on my wet mop of hair... I moved closer to you. And we watched the rain through windows frosted with the spray. End of class, Malayalam was still a foreign language.

You were very good looking. I asked around. You were.

When classes as they all go, get boring, people doodle. I write. I closed the book when I felt you read me. You took the book from my unresisting fingers and read it all. Our first touch. And I did hear bells. Bell. Class over.

Sundays were fun. They became more than fun. They became more look forwarded to. Skirts became more than an item of clothing. They were to be decided upon all of a sudden.

And when you walked me home every after-class at 11 pushing your bicycle along, I wished my home was far, far away than across the street. We stood hours or minutes crossing the traffic devoid streets. I was too young to know fear while crossing the road or an excuse called holding-hands-while-crossing.

And when they closed down the school because the teacher was leaving it nearly killed me.

I never saw you for 5 years after that. When my best friend told me on how she heard from her brother’s friend’s brother who was your friend that you were ‘interested’ in me, I stood there completely numb.

I hope you noticed that I’d worn a water melon pink salwar kameez. The only one I had then. I’d even borrowed the exact shade of nail enamel and painted my tiny convent school sized nails. One dipped brush painted all. I’d even worn a dupatta and for the first time wished I had something that would explain the purpose of that piece of garment on me. And when my friends insisted that I don’t wear my glasses and insisted that I could see fine without them, I believed them than my eyes and ophthalmologist.

“Men seldom make passes, at girls who wear glasses”, my best friend had consoled me. “Yes, I read it from your diary.”

She went on, “Don’t talk too much. Guys don’t like girls who talk too much”.

I wondered where on earth she had this insight into the alien world of men.

“Pretend you are not very interested in him. Never let him know that you still have your Malayalam notebook with his handwriting in it!” she was amazing. She knew everything. “Don’t let him get fresh. It’s your first date. Only.” crushing all my hopes of being kissed and the first girl to be so in my gang.

I don’t remember what we talked. I think we looked at the stars in the late evening sky and said something about it. I hope not but I have this bad feeling that we did.

You asked me to write. I did. You promised to write. You did. Our letters crossed. And I remember reading your first letter frantically looking for answers to all my unasked questions. There were none. To which I wrote a letter full of hinted questions. And hit my head when your first letter full of reassurances to the hints came.

I wasn’t very lovable. And you realized that. I hope she is. I hope she is not.


Many years later I go to see someone. I wear my glasses. I carry my own bag. I smile when I want to. I talk when not spoken to. I make another rain memory.

I have traveled a long way. And I’m still where I began.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm tempted to say hats off to one of the most talented persons I've ever met but that wouldn't match what I want to see coz it goes well beyond just talent, just mere writings. There's you in what you write and that's the best part of it to me..

11:57 PM  
Blogger Pleomorphous said...

The feeling of being numb is the aftermath of reading your posts.

Wistfully numb.

1:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Wham!!!'------'{Blank} on this early rainy morning!!
very now really tempted to write the comic relief of that same story ;o)
but, honestly....cho chweeeeet!!! ;D

1:59 AM  
Blogger Aquamarine Moonshine said...

Extremely romantic. Makes me feel all light and fluffy like a cloud.

2:49 AM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Fadia: Sometimes its not a good thing giving a part of you in what you write no?

Pleo: Compliment I suppose! If yes, thank you. If not- err...

Sharat: Dont cho chweet me! Gah!

Aquamarine moonshine: Lol! Its the age!

3:43 AM  
Blogger Praveen said...

If your previous article was complex, the first thing I notice here is this post's simplicity. The language is simple too and conveys a great deal.

4:19 AM  
Blogger tcr_79 said...

Praveen - not fair, was going to say something similar

Well written Poorni - guess no one will fight with me for saying that :)

7:00 AM  
Blogger Lili said...

I just stumbled over your site. I started reading... I couldn't stop... it nearly made me cry. Go on like that, it's beautiful.

7:23 AM  
Blogger yesbob said...

oh !! farther ...

9:15 AM  
Blogger Jithu said...

its such sweet-pain-ish things that make life beautiful... i sleep as if to wakeup in to those memories and wake-up as if to sleep into those memories.. where, thinking abt it and not thinking abt it is both a bliss as well as pain...

2:38 PM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Praveen: Ah- no clue what to say!

Krish: There are people I know who tell me that this post is crap! So you've always got a fight on your hands!

Lili: Thank you.

Yesbob: And farther without distance. Simulacra-simulacrum! Wow!

Jithu: All that's left are some memories that I'd be better off without.

9:00 PM  
Blogger pallavi said...

...and that makes the two of us...back to square one...
but as they say,walk on...

4:17 AM  
Blogger pallavi said...

to krish: we weren't really fighting now were we...??
just a little difference in opinion shall we say...

4:42 AM  
Blogger tcr_79 said...

Poorni: Oh ok - well yeah - there will always be ssome one who does not like the post much - but I found this post pretty good...

Pallavi - mature argument is what I would call it :)

1:08 PM  
Blogger Arvind Iyer said...

ahh..something that my bheja understood in the first reading...nice :)

3:45 AM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Pallavi: Plodding on I am.

Krish: But I do trust their 'literary judgement' more! Ah, anyway...

Arvind: Finally! Ah- am glad I wrote this post then!

9:00 PM  
Blogger manuscrypts said...

crushed!!.... would make a fine addition to 'Where the rain is born' :)

6:32 AM  
Blogger tcr_79 said...

"A leaky roof and water that dripped on my wet mop of hair... "

- or should I say Wet Broom :) :)


2:14 PM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Manu: I dont really like Anita Nair. But haven't read that one of hers. Any good?

Krish: If I could have sworn, I would have used the choicest of ones on you!

9:34 PM  
Blogger aks said...

hey love....i jus cant help but fall in love with u da....ur too good....and i jus simply love alwayz...and ya i seem to have a liking for gals with goggles..(wink)

4:31 AM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Aks: My dear dear boy, if only you were older!!! But well, I have a younger sister who wears 'goggles'! Interested? ;o)

4:33 AM  
Blogger aks said...

hey love...was that required????

3:02 AM  

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