You know the Thought Experiments. This is the back of the envelope.

Friday, October 29, 2010

To Delhi, with love

Dear Delhi,

There have never been any secrets between you and me. I gave up trying to keep anything from you a long, long time ago. When personalities fall into sync the way yours and mine did, no thought is a secret. You know all of mine. Do I know all of yours?

Are you kidding me? There's no way I could manage knowing everything about you.

If anything, that makes me fall harder in love with you each time I so much as think about you.

I do know, though, that you're mad, and stubborn, and lovable, and temperamental and beautiful. I know that you're irritating, maddening even. That you're opinionated and interfering and irresistible. That I've never resisted something so hard and only ended up feeling that much more passionately about it.

I wasn't sure what to make of you when I first got to know you. I hated you, then moved on to indifference, then a tentative, hesitant liking of sorts, then a deep friendship...then immense love, more indifference...I began to resent you again and I thought we were done for good. And then I left you, feeling glad that the time had come for us to part before the love changed to something less pleasant. I didn't want to feel less pleasantly about you.

Moving on from what it was like to be with you is the hardest thing I have had to do yet. I hadn't been away for 12 hours before it hit me that this was it...I'd never be back there again, things would change forever. I missed you. I still do. I miss everything about you, and I love you.

You know all that there is to know about me, Delhi. When I'm with you, I'm me. I can't say I know everything about you, Delhi, but I do know you're lush and green and rebellious when it rains. I know you have your monsoon moodswings. I've grown to love them, be able to predict them, even. I know that yours is the most scorching, unforgiving summer in the world. You stubborn, headstrong city...nothing reflects your temperamental side as easily as your Mays, Junes and Julys.

And I did manage to survive a summer and monsoon away from you, Delhi...but not being there when winter is slowly making its way into the calendar is killing me. Yous soul is never as beautifully consummate as it is in winter. And every time I smell the wood-smoke in the air here, every time I shiver and hug myself to keep out the nip in the air, each time I see a trace of fog anywhere around me, I miss you so much that it breaks my heart. I miss the fog there, I miss shivering uncontrollably under eight layers of woollen clothing, I miss the impossibility of leaving my bed every morning. I miss the way the air smells and feels there. I miss your fairy lights at CP, and the lone peanut vendor by Arts Fac. I miss the coldness of the handrails inside the Metro. I miss the bite of the wind as it whips across my face when I travel through Central Secretariat by auto. I miss India Gate, I miss the Ridge, I miss the University, I miss the terrace of my hostel building. I miss the quietness of 2 a.m, when an insomniac and her city would commune. I miss the stillness of your nights. I miss the beauty of your roads. I miss your skies and your horizon. I miss every thing about you.

And till I left you and realised how it felt, I had no idea I was capable of so much love.

I'll come back to you. Don't ask me when, because I don't know. But I will.

Till then, know that I love you, and miss you with every particle of my being.

Yours, always,

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Autumn - Part III


It's a whole five days since we last met...I miss you. I wish you hadn't gone. I know, I know, it's your best friend's wedding...but hey, I count for something too, don't I?


Don't be mad know I'm kidding.

About you not caring for me, that is. I do miss you.

I was walking by PTI this afternoon. Can you believe it's been eight months now?? Eight whole months of knowing you...of loving's the same thing...I miss you, Neen.

Keventers got back their vanilla shake, by the way. I went there this afternoon with Deep. I had the mango, though...we'll save the vanilla for when you get back. :)

Come back soon, Neen. I want my security blanket back.

Yes, I know I have to grow up. You can teach me how. We've got the rest of our lives to do all the teaching and learning. :)

Just come back soon, okay?


P.S. It's not like I don't know that you won't really be checking your mail there...but I've got to write when I've got to write, right? Love you.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Autumn - Part II

The rain began to fall faster, more urgently. She could have stepped under the awning of the coffee shop, but something made her want to wait for Dhrubo here, right outside in the rain. That way, she could get a glimpse of him sooner.

She paused for a second at the thought, contemplating reprimanding herself for being so silly. She wasn't sixteen...and this certainly wasn't the rational behaviour of a twenty-six year-old. Then she let the reprimand go. Dhrubo had taught her to ease up, to be more accepting of life as it came instead of attempting to pigeon-hole everything into logic, schedules and plans. She wondered, not for the first time, what had brought them together...what made them stay this way.

"Is this how you always begin your day?" she had asked in disbelief tinged with annoyance the third time they had met - the third morning also, in a row, that Dhrubo had come sprinting into the elevator, partially-knotted tie in one hand and backpack flung over his shoulder. His rushed entry would scatter the crowd already present inside. With his feckless air and the nonchalant, disarming ease with which he smiled at a bunch of strangers he had just inconvenienced, Dhrubo could make the concept of frowning upon delays look near-ridiculous...and every morning, it seemed to Neena, he did just that.

"I try", he had grinned at her. It was a frank, open smile, the sort that told her right away that she would be wasting her time harbouring ill-will against the face that wore it. "I really do...but no matter what I do, I am always running late." He frowned towards the end of the sentence, then smiled again. "I'll try not to hold back the elevator tomorrow...or at least not when you're taking it."

She hadn't been able to hold back the smile then.

Her smile...thought Dhrubo, rounding a bend in the road. It was the sort that stayed with you hours after you'd seen it, the sort that could be sensed even over the phone. He loved her smile. He'd told her that often enough.

Standing there in the rain, mulling over all that she wanted to tell Dhrubo today, she wondered if she had ever told him that she had lost her heart to him with that first smile and conversation. Excuse of a conversation, she corrected herself. Some first meeting that was. Had she told him? She didn't remember doing so.

I hope to goodness she isn't getting drenched, Dhrubo muttered to himself as threaded his way through a crowded pavement. And then he grinned to himself at the realisation of how the essence of each had rubbed off on the other...he'd started being careful, for goodness' sake. Actually, he added as an afterthought, he'd started being careful for her sake. And he was willing to bet that she would actually be standing out there in the rain - just like he would.

He was afraid of sense and order before she came along. There was always greater security in the haphazard and the haywire. She had found that both astonishing and amusing - and had told him so in as many words. He'd laughed off her questions then...and then found himself pondering them later, in his solitude. That was what had clinched it for him. His solitude was sacrosanct - reserved only for him. When thoughts about her inched themselves effortlessly into his long walks and early morning coffee, he'd stopped to take stock. And he had known. Known with absolute certainty.

And here they were today. There she was, the only person standing in the rain. He waved.

Neena waved back, her throat suddenly aching with unshed tears.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Autumn - Part I

Dhrubo was late again. That didn't surprise Neena. He was always late. In the beginning, she had thought this was an endearing habit. She liked the way he would come running up, stringing words together into an excuse - or an apology; she never really knew which - smiling at her even before their eyes met, taking her hand even as she tried - half-heartedly - to rebuke him. Their meetings always began this way. It was a habit with her, just like Dhrubo's tardiness was a habit with him.

Dhrubo checked his watch. In all the seventeen months that he had known Neena, he had never made it on time. It amazed him that they were still together. They were so different as people that it was surprising that they had even got along in the first place. Or maybe that's why they got along, he mused. Either way, he couldn't imagine his life without her. He couldn't recall a time when she hadn't been there, his island of calm in an otherwise crazy life. Neena, he thought to himself, and smiled. Neena, his security blanket.

Dhrubo, Neena thought to herself. Dhrubo, her hurricane lamp. Fickle, warm, bright. Hers.

They used these terms of endearment in their letters and emails to each other. Almost silly, it would have all seemed to an outsider, but they didn't care for outsiders. They had each other, and that was all that mattered.

In the beginning...but then, things are so different in the beginning. For better or for worse, they change, she thought, as she searched her bag for mint. She liked mint. It was something she had picked up from Dhrubo. Sometimes, she wasn't sure whether she liked mint because she liked it, or because Dhrubo was fond of it. After all this time, it didn't matter.

It began to rain. She shielded her eyes against the drops and squinted into the distance, looking for Dhrubo.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Pause

Some parts don't add up to a complete whole, and some do.

More on The Southwest Wall, later.