I am travelling to Mangalore today. Before leaving home, I quickly snuggled in an old read “The Japanese Wife” by Kunal Basu. It’s been a long time since I have re-read the fiction. I flip thru the pages and appreciate the beautiful write up by the author. Maybe didn’t realize it earlier when I read it for the first time. The first time has been a many years ago, maybe a decade now. When I flip the book on the cover pages, I quickly see a note written by me in the last page “My mistresses’ sparrow is dead by Jeffry Eugenides” & I see a name mentioned below “Rumi” with a contact number dated 30th of JuneJ.
The memory hit me almost instantly and I immediately travelled back in motion reliving the decade old memory. I was engaged to my better half then and was in my pre final year of engineering. During the summer break I was travelling to Kolkata from Delhi. It was in the train that I had met “R”. She was wearing a short length Tee with a tight legged low waist jeans and an absolute simple pair of slippers. I still remember the black Tee with the light blue jeans. I found her very cute except for her height that was little short as per Indian standards. Little shy that I was those days and the concept of morality hitting my soul from the inside every time because I was already engaged & in Love, I didn’t really had the courage to strike a conversation with her.
While I was stealing glances of her and trying to smile and make a conversation, surprisingly we both were conversing with others except each other. She was reading the book “My mistresses’ sparrow is dead” and I noted that she was a student of masters in economics from D.U during her conversations with others. Again I don’t know why but I always accidently bump into older women than my age group & also gel with them really well. While I had a lower berth, an elderly person asked me if I could take the upper one and I gladly agreed not only as a helping gesture but also to show the chivalry and how good guy I am to the girl. I think I was a total idiot then. During the train journey I didn’t know her name and we were conversing with each other through others.
The next day in the morning I geared up with the courage to ask her as to which book she was reading and we striked a conversation. People around us then were carefully watching & listening to us and there was a pin drop silence. It almost embarrassed me if not her and sooner the destination arrived. I cuddled up further courage when we got down to ask her the book name once again (how stupid of me) and wrote the book name in the last page of my book “The Japanese wife”.
Finally I managed to ask her name and she said it was Rumi & offered her contact number. She had a mobile then, but I didn’t and I had to shy away immediately with strange thoughts if she would date a guy younger to her and who doesn’t even have a mobile phone. I dotted the number and headed back straight to my nani’s place with profound happiness that at least I got the number. After reaching my Nani’s home, I was contemplating if I should go ahead and make the first move by calling her but destiny had other plans. My fiancée called to check if I reached safely and my world of dreams came to a realistic end with a thunder!!!
Today sitting in the train I begin to think and realize if I should try making the call today. I don’t know if the phone number still exists?? I don’t even know her last name. But we met for a little while and see I still remember her. But somehow I am unable to place in my memory how she looked like. Life is meant to be savored they said and very rightly said so.