Love Short Story – Romance et al
“Think about what we have said. We expect a reply soon, else we will finalize the proposal ourselves.” My father said with a grim face.
To avoid him, I fixed my gaze outside the train. An old man was selling guavas in a hoarse voice; his chanting was between poetry and prose. A young bride wearing scores of red bangles boarded the train. She had marks of fresh henna on her hands. A man cleaned the station with a long broom and entire platform was soon full of dust. No one stood near him but he was not bothered at all. He whistled while he did his work.
My insolence resulted in louder sobs of my mom. Actually tears were a companion of all her feelings. She cried when she was happy; she cried when she was sad. More often than not she cried just like that. My other family members did not say anything but intruded my personal space. I felt like a thief who was being forced into a confession. If you belong to this part of world, no crime can be bigger than being a bachelor at twenty eight.
Pushpak Express gave its horn and started crawling on the tracks. Much to the relief of other passengers, my relatives left the compartment. We were a big happy family and no member of such a group could catch a train alone. Will these people ever let me grow? There is more to life than getting married and having kids. I was the first person in my family to graduate, first to live outside Lucknow for more than a month and the only one to remain a bachelor till twenty eight. The effort of my family to get me married was getting on my nerves.
I tried to focus on journey instead. A jumble of crisscrossed railway tracks was spread on the ground. The train skilfully manoeuvred on them. Buildings with advertisements of soaps, painkillers and panacea for sexual ills travelled with the train. It went on while long queues of vehicles waited at the closed railway crossings. Kids waved us good bye. As we left the city, buildings gave way to fields. Often there was a road running parallel to the tracks and isolated vehicles competed with the train. Wind gushed on my face. I wished I could spend my life sitting next to window of a train.
Two hours passed and Kanpur came. Rhythmic sounds of moving train were replaced by cacophony of a busy platform. Tape announcing arrival of our train was repeatedly played. Passengers rushed to board the train and struggled with those trying to get down. A stream of beggars pleaded for alms. Street children sold recycled Bisleri bottles. As the train started to leave the station, a girl boarded our compartment. She was peculiarly dressed in translucent bodice and pantaloons. Her clothes were like those worn by girls of ‘Alif Laila aka Arabian Nights’ series. Her large necklace, matching earrings and accessories made her a walking wind chime. My gaze was becoming a stare when she said:
“Would you help me to adjust my luggage?” The disadvantage of being a young male is that fat aunties, old uncles and all girls believe that it is their right to seek help.
“Hello, I am Aditi.” She said settling on her seat. I wanted to say I was James Bond but resisted the urge.
My fellow passengers were a sleepy middle aged couple with a kid. They were going to Nasik and belonged to that place. Aditi was from Bombay but had come to Kanpur for a film shoot. Once the round of introductions was over, she decided against giving rest to her vocal chords. Very soon I knew even mundane details about my companions. The couple’s long lost relative had invited them to a wedding and they were happy to visit Lucknow on this pretext. Aditi was a struggling actor. She had come here for that shoot and had to catch train directly after that. She added that she had found a good agent and very soon we were going to watch her on big screen.
“You are going to Bombay?” Probably she had noticed ‘not too keen’ look on my face.
“Then it makes at least three; me, you and this train.” She laughed at her own joke. Her laughter was like ringing of bells. She was vivacious, confident and ambitious, and would have been opposite of any girl my family would choose. We did engage in conversation after that, but it was she who spoke. I was just happy to observe her animated face. She was attractive in a strange way.
We did not realise when the journey came to an end. Both of us exchanged numbers and decided to remain in touch.
“Aniket, how have you been? Why you did not call even once in three months? You know I am working in three films. One of them releases next month. Are you free tonight; I have two passes for a concert. Reach Bandra station at eight.” She hung up the phone without giving me time to speak.
As I came out or was rather pushed out by the crowd at Bandra, she waved her hand. She was not wearing any makeup and was dressed in a simple salwar suit. She had grown thin since we last met.
“People have started to mob me……… do not tell me you have not seen any of my posters. No, no…..” I had a feeling that she was being fake.
We reached the concert late. It was an emerging fusion band. It started from regular Bollywood numbers and then moved on to songs with a classical blend. For next two hours, Aditi was grossed in the performance. She avoided looking in my eyes. After it ended, she proposed to go to the Marine drive. We sat there for an hour but she hardly spoke. I started getting irritated.
“Aren’t you going home today?” I said.
“You do not like to spend time with me.” There were tears in her eyes. This is what I dread about girls. She met me after three months, behaved in such an awkward manner and then I was to be blamed for all that.
“Sorry, it was not your fault.” She said wiping her tears after sometime. Then she did something which may be called strange for people who were meeting only for second time. She kept her head on my shoulders and closed her eyes. The only sound that disturbed the night was sound of waves. A cold wind blew and I shivered in my thin coat. I was totally confused. It could have been stupid; sitting there at two at night and being made a complete fool but a beautiful girl had kept her head on my shoulder and that made it worth it.
“Aditi, let me drop you home.” I said after sometime.
“I have no home.” She had not slept.
After probing her for long, the story that came out was not pleasant. Her agent had duped her after promising to get her cast in a big film. She has taken loan from many, and that included her landlord. She could not go back.
“It was wrong to have a dream.” She said.
“Stay with me. You can repay me once you are a star.” I do not know why but I could not see her fail.
She was depressed when she came. She spent hours staring at the walls. Her eyes were pale and her face bore a blank look. I had to care for her as a child. I tried to engage her in useless conversations, ensured that she slept and ate. I was afraid that she could try something stupid but within days she was cheerful again. She talked about many things but we never discussed how she landed at my place.
She tried to repay my favour by behaving like a dedicated maid. She kept the house clean, cooked my favourite food and ensured everything was at its place.
“Why do you not try to get some roles?” I asked one day.
“Am I a burden?” She looked hurt. There are times when language betrays.
I took her palms in my hand, they were cold. I pulled her close. Her head rested on my shoulders. Locks of her hair rubbed across my face. They had an intoxicating smell. There was a mole on her neck and I planted soft kisses on that. Her grip tightened as my hands caressed her body and then found way inside her clothes. She was extremely soft. There is nothing more beautiful than girls; there is nothing more natural than making love.
After that we enjoyed each other’s company even more. We liked everything about Bombay; its local trains, advent of monsoon, and rushing sea of humanity. We liked anonymity of this world.
Our sex life was great. Our bodies could communicate better than we did through words. We loved to discover each other. It is an intimate feeling to know someone by their smell. We learnt together the nuances of touch, to enjoy the warmth of tender skin. We ventured in the world of taboos. Sometimes Aditi became a seductress and I turned into her willing prey. She could be a tigress when she was in mood.
She wore a black thread around her waist. Whenever we went out, she ensured that I saw it. I could not wait to caress that. She got herself a navel ring on my birthday. I lusted to get its glimpse.
I felt like a free citizens of this world. If two young people can stay together and make love, world would be a better place.
“You love me only for this.” She said one day as we lay spent. Once the act was done, both of us entered into different moods. She turned emotional, and I always preferred not saying a word.
She often complained that I did not love her enough, but today it was different. I had a feeling that our world was heading for a doom. Aditi’s career was not taking shape and she was getting frustrated. My parents had started to press for marriage. I feared that some day they might land up in Bombay if I did not decide soon.
“I am going to Lucknow for ten days.” I told her one day.
“My parents have seen a girl for me. I have to finalise it.” Her face turned pale.
Before she could cry again, I said “It is to discuss about us stupid. Oh did I not tell you………I have never been with a more beautiful girl. My life has been bliss since you came. I love the dimple on your cheeks, I like hair locks falling on your face and I adore you in that black dress. I also love your dirty talk. Will you marry me?”
I was on my knees. Tears came in her eyes but they were momentary. That night our love making was even more intense.
Everyone was surprised in Lucknow to find me unannounced.
For the first time, I had taken gifts for all. I enquired relatives about their health, went for shopping with my mom and spent time with aunts. I did not get irritated at ‘this is your age to have kids’ talk. I even tried to joke with my dad.
My parents guessed something was wrong. The topic of marriage was not breached for three days. I had to break the impasse.
“We need to talk.” I announced on the dinner table that night. Anxious glances were exchanged. No good thing ever came if a discussion was started like that. Kids were quietly dispatched to their room. A second passed like an age. I felt suffocated.
“I want to get married.” I finally said. Those who have undergone this will vouch that it is extremely difficult to say that. It is extremely difficult to tell your mom and dad that you are dying to get married. It is always meant to be the other way round.
“Hmm…” My father groaned. It was his signal to continue.
My eyes were fixed at the table while I spoke. I told them everything; well almost. I tried to drive them to fait accompli and its aftermath was not bad. My mother wiped tears by corner of her pallu. Her action was imitated by most of my aunts. My father left the table without saying a word. Marriage of their child is every parent’s dream; marriage by child’s own volition their worst nightmare.
After some days of melodrama, my parents agreed. Their desire to get me married off overcame their reluctance. Mom bought gifts for my bride to be. My father found all probable wedding dates.
“Now when you are getting married, you should give me a grandchild soon.” Mom said as I left. Now she had to plan marriage of my
A new chapter of my life was about to begin. I did not tell Aditi about all this as I wanted to see excitement on her face. We would have to convince her parents, and then we would live happily ever after.
When I reached home, my door was locked; newspapers were not picked for days. Aditi at times went outdoors at a short notice but she had always informed. I tried to ring her but the call did not go through. I checked with my landlord. He said that Aditi left five days back. She had left me a note. My heart sank as I opened the envelope.
I guess the right way to begin this letter should be…..with an apology. Please pardon me. Pardon me that I left without saying a word, that I did not say this before and did not give a reply you truly deserved. Truth being told, I was afraid to break your heart.
I came to Bombay with a dream and I cannot betray it now, whatever is the cost. We have different priorities in life and committing to a relationship does not figure in mine. I am sorry if I gave an impression that I was in love. I treasure the time spent with you, and pray that……some day when I am ready for it……., I get a guy who proposes me in a stupid way like that.
As for our relationship, let us not try to label that. Wish we can still be friends; for old time sake.
Lots of Love,
PS: 1. Left your LPG cylinder empty, you may have to go hungry for some days.
2. Whenever you want to see locks on my face, we can fix up a date.
3. Praying that you get married to some really nice girl!