Saturday, December 21, 2013

ETERNAL LOVE

It is 10.30AM anIn dedication to feeling which is so beautiful....... d I am taking stock of the situation at work.  I am a little irritated that my bankers have refused to enhance my limits…. I am muttering to myself how can I convince these damn bankers…. Every requirement you have….. they want a security……at the same time a passing thought just crosses my mind …….if the bankers were really so strict then how the hell did so many people manage so many scams….. to my confused mind the only people to benefit from these scams were the people from the press.
They get fodder to keep the news mills rolling and would be very glad to provide a sensational news to the ever hungry public each morning.…with such a mind set and an intense feeling of self sympathy I start wondering to myself “why were all the strict bankers posted in branches where I have an account”…. I take a pseudo ethical stand ……and I convince myself  that “all rules are only for those who acknowledge them”…..given an opportunity it would have really been difficult for me to pull one of the scams off because they also needed some special skills and a malafide intent to pull off such a scam ……which I did not possess.
The coffee boy has just arrived with the everydayIMG_0280routine coffee…. one look at the coffee …..gets my temper shooting upwards….. the coffee  is almost as white as milk,…. this only acts as an catalyst to flare up my already irritated mood…. and in a tone that personified the pent up frustration  I ask him the most relevant question on that day…. why  Joshi(The canteen owner) too is short of working capital???  Why so little coffee powder in my brew ….. I always take pride in the fact that even the boys working at canteen knew my preferences and took care to add very little sugar and make the coffee strong.
With so many questions being bombarded at the poor canteen boy; confusion got the better of him and he dropped the coffee cup on the request letter which I had freshly drafted after a lot of thought….. hoping that the language which reflected my anxiety and the insensitiveness of the bankers….. would melt the icy situation… but alas this coffee boy was not going to let that happen.  Irritated that I was … I barked at the unsuspecting coffee boy…how much have those bankers paid you to thwart my attempt at squeezing something extra out of them!!.  In the melee  my mobile phone starts ringing relentlessly  and as I grope in the piles of paper on my table to locate the mobile phone the sound of which was getting on my nerves before I finally  find it to and notice that that it is an unknown number……..answer this call  I am horrified at the unusual request from a friend who has not been in touch with me for the last two years…..……
In short ………. this only gives a cursory view of the happenings at my office on a Monday morning.…. AND GETTING SUCH A REQUEST.. in the midst of my prime time confusion was beyond what I  could comprehend…….now following is the transcript of my exercise to avoid his silly request….(silly from my point of  view)…. but  he was determined to tell me a real love story to which he was a witness.  I just  gestured to my assistant that I was in for trouble.
Caller: Hello … How are you jags?? guess who is this??Me: Kaun hai (Who is it) who ever you are just tell me what you want
Caller:  How can you forget my voice just try to get me.  I am your friend and I got to meet you urgently..
Me: After a loaded pause….. its ok …. but who are you??
Caller:  Arre sirji…. I am Vishnu you r friend…. I have been regularly reading your write ups ….. and I have got a nice story to narrate and believe me it is a real life love story and  I want it to be written only by you.
Me:  What?? you are…what did you say??
Caller: I am waiting outside your office…… please its very urgent…. i need to talk to you….. I will wait …. please give me  a couple of hours … so that while narrating this story we may as well have lunch…?
Me: Vishnu   (using some expletives * ****& % #& $  ***which I did not intend him to hear)  you are impossible…..anyways since you have come please …… I was wondering why was this guy so keen on narrating a love story….. that too….. so urgently ….. ?

After disconnecting the call I lifted my head while mentally preparing myself to sacrifice my precious time and attend to this guy ….. I was simultaneously also  contemplating giving him a piece of my mind for coming to meet me wiyellow rose2thout a prior appointment…. and that too….. while still lost in my thoughts i raised my head I saw blurred white mass in front of my eyes and realised he was standing in front of me…… I looked at him with an intent to make him realise that he was not welcome at this hour…… but the forlorn look in his red eyes betrayed that they were deprived of sleep….. but never the least there was a twinkle …. in those tired eyes which wanted to tell me something…… more than what met my eye ……I was made to realise……that yes I must give this guy the time he was asking for……because what ever Vishnu wanted to tell me was really important to him.   I noticed that he was giving more importance to the way he looked and there was a change in the ever workaholic mannerism.
He entered my cabin and i could recognise the perfume which was unmistakably Polo but I could not place the aroma and assumed it must be musk.  I thought to myself…… man this guy has changed.
After exchanging pleasantries and expressing views on various topics other than the one he wanted to discuss. After a while  I bluntly asked him you were to discuss some damn real love story ……loud enough for my staff to overhear……. the mention of this was enough for him to stick his tongue.  He discreetly told me to speak slowly and it was obvious he was trying to hide something.  I really did not care a damn and the whole office any way knew and looked upon this guy as an intruder in the proceedings of the day.  He asked me to close the door of my cabin so he could tell me something in the privacy of my isolated cabin.
On closing the cabin door and he opening his mouth; I realised I had hit upon  a ice berg which had a lot to reveal under the surface.  Actually this guy was on a revelation mode…… but he was not confessing ….. I later realised that this guy was on the verge of sharing his story which dated back to his school days and fate had brought him face to face with his first love…… This kind of stuff was ok only in bollywood movies or in some kind of  girlie love stories .. like the Mills and Boon.  I have deliberately not compared this story with any novel by Harold Robins which are also based on love stories but they are different and I still enjoy reading them like I used to  in my teen age days.  The difference now and then is that…… back then  I read Harold Robins because of my inquisitiveness in the erotica and now I read his books for two reasons because of his beautiful language and also the way he treats sex which is so sensual and beautiful.  In both cases the  result is a rise in testosterone levels…. jokes apart. 
What made matters worse was that this though guy  was meeting me after a long spell and the fact that I have introduced him as an unwelcome guest……nothing in this world could deny the fact that ….. he is a good friend and that I knew his wife of twenty years ……This  made me feel kind of guilty for the way I had treated him to the point of being selfish and rude.  And he on the other hand had shown the confidence in me by choosing  to confide in me ….. though I had still to hear and understand his story….but all the above facts remain unaltered.
Now I will take this story from here as follows.  It is the transcript of how fate brought him face to face with his first love……I will be writing his story in first person as told to me by Vishnu…..The reason for writing it in the first person is because my writing has been critically appraised by Dr Dandekar (A very senior friend) many a times before and he has always pointed out to me that though I write well, I have a tendency to write all my articles in the third person……. it is better I don’t  give you a chance to criticise me …..Dr  Dandekarji….
 And finally Vishnu bears out his heart to me, in the midst of my busy schedule and in a venue which was an upscale Udupi restaurant making huge profit by serving the Udupi version of Punjabi dishes……but it was obvious this matter was bearing heavily on his mind and it really did not matter to him if he really had his lunch or no.. so he decided to share this story with someone and the safest person he could bet on was me…  Though I would like to believe that he had confidence in my writing  skills.  But the most important thing was that he had a greater confidence in me as a friend and that is why he was sitting in front of me at this Udupi restaurant and having pseudo punjabi food while telling me a real life love story.
(Now the story as told to me by Vishnu in first person)
Vishnu started by ordering food for me as well as for himself……. I noticed that there was some kind of intensity in his eyes when he started talking of the direction his life had taken in the past one month….. He told me as follows:
Jags my life has been spilit and i dont know which direction it will take …..   I never imagined that one day I would be in a dilemma to choose one Laxmi over another Laxmi…….. his eyes welling up with tears.
I asked him in a voice and pitch which showed genuine concern …. what do you mean…choosing one Laxmi over another Laxmi ?? Vishnu looked at me straight in my eye ……. his red eyes showing the intensity and feeling he had for both the women in his life and it was quite obvious that the former Laxmi was his wife of 20 years and the latter Laxmi I was still to know…IMG_1377
It became very clear to me why this guy was here and was he trying to garner support for his misadventure called Laxmi II …. was he trying to use me….. so many judgemental and insecure questions started popping up in my mind….. Finally as better sense prevailed I decide that I would form a opinion only after listening to his story and only then I would make up my mind…. what further course of action I had to take.  With this kind of mind set I ask Vishnu to go ahead with his love story uninterrupted ….
Vishnu starts by wiping his wet eyes and blowing his nose into his handkerchief.  I realised that he was at a stage where etiquettes really did not matter and he really did not have to put on a front.  He was probably thinking …… when he had decided to share something so close to his heart with me ….. all the etiquettes really did not matter and he continued in the same vein much to my chagrin  “Jags it is a long story it was during those days when there were no mobile phones, no dish TV….. yes people had TV sets which took about 3 to 5 minutes to start because they worked on CRT”  I asked him CRT?  He just brushed me aside and told me in a irritated tone that CRT  was the abbreviation for cathode ray tube.  He continued his story without waiting for me to acknowledge that I had heard and understood the technical aspect of what he just told me.  Every thing was so new … It was around the year Kapil Dev had just made his debut and he was as our answer to Jeff Thomson, Dennis Lillee , Richard Hadlee and of course the invincible Imran Khan.”
Vishnu continued his story …….. “cricket fever was just catching up that season and since I lived in that part of Mumbai where having enough space for playing was not a virtue of the cooperative housing societies way back even in 1978.  This forced us to go to a government housing colony with ample space to play cricket….. this is  where  my good friend Mahesh Apte’s father had been allotted a government  quarter by virtue of his clerical job in the government ….I used to be one of the best batsmen in the team.
“My friend Mahesh  belonged to a conservative family……. he lived with his  parents and only sister who studied in our school .  She was three classes junior to us.  Though I knew that Mahesh had a sister I had never quite made it a point to  notice her … he continued further …. moreover it was an unspoken rule  among our friends that each of the guys in the in circle would respect their sisters each other sisters.
“The first couple of days I went to play there…. I could never  concentrate on my game because I always felt that I was being watched….. yes I  was being watched from some discreet place …It was as if there was some kind of magnetic force.. It was a strange feeling but it  was affecting my performance and also my concentration so i decided to find the source of the distraction”.


Vishnu continued still hogging the rubberised roti….”I decided that since my batting was anyway getting affected”… “I rather find out this source of distraction…..I kept a watch on the houses that lined up along the small lane where we played cricket.  Actually this lane doubled up as good pitch which had a uniform bounce.  As I  concentrated noticing the similar glass panes which were a part of the the independent houses that looked alike  I noticed some one standing behind the opaque glass windows and looking intently towards with me”…… 

I did not have to look too hard to recognise the small  house which was obviously occupied right now only by Mahesh’s sister ………as both his parents were out at work and Mahesh was keeping the wickets.  I was obviously disturbed and furious….. I decided to give a piece of mind to this disturbance and hence on the pretext of having water I went to Mahesh’s house.  As I knocked the door Laxmi opened the door as she was probably keeping a watch on my  moments.  I had mentally rehearsed what I was going to tell her.  But as soon as the door opened I saw this beautiful creature.  All the anger and frustration drowned in the beauty of the round big eyes…. which had the longest eye lashes I had ever seen.  

The small innocent round face had a complexion which was radiant and golden brown…. I was speechless …it was as if this beautiful face was tugging a chord at my heart.  There was a stammer in my speech a silly smile on my face as i tried to hide my weakness for this beautiful.