A drop of cream trickled down the left crack of her lips and was suspended somewhere before the chin. Vishal was jealous of the substance which got the opportunity of getting to feel her soft smooth skin. As if the drop was so drenched in the languor of the sensation that it didn’t want to let go of it, that it resisted moving off the chin and falling off the cliff, as if it was holding on to the last straws it could; to still live a few moments of sheer ecstasy. The tongue worked on the edges of the creamy linings of the ice-cream bar; titillating him beyond measure, making the most sensational moves, drawing the most irregular curves. Yet another drop carved its own path, following the slope of the long red nails, across the index finger, deciding to settle between the knuckles. Who could tell between the sound of the moist slurp and Beethoven!
Hello!! Hello!! Mr. Vishal, what thoughts are you lost in?
As Vishal was cruelly stirred from his reverie, he realized that it was just the sight of Aisha buying an ice-cream that had triggered such a fascinating chain of thoughts. It felt like it could have been hours since he had been observing her but in reality, she was only taking off the wrapper now. Vishal almost blushed as he looked at Richa who was now giving him a mischievous smile. “Oh! Come now. I was only thinking about the bug we were trying to fix today.”
“Oh! Yes Of course you were!! But who’s gonna fix this bug in your head?” came the response from Richa with a sarcastic frown.
Vishal honestly replied, “Don’t worry, you are trying hard enough.”
This was starting to become a frequent phenomenon. Almost like a disease, a dangerous one, it was slowly spreading its shroud over his consciousness.
Vishal had always been an honest IT professional; working to the best of his abilities, stretching hours to get the job done, seeking fresher challenges to hone his skills. But of late, the financial pressure back at home, the vicious environment created within his team by his malicious boss and most significantly his yearning for Aisha had been getting a hold of his psyche in the most bizarre of ways. Obsessed with his thoughts he began to experience time dilation, was often absent minded, imagining things he wanted to. His closest office pal Richa was trying her best to rid him of this anomaly. But situations were not going to be as easy as she thought.
The other day, Vishal had a brawl with the boy at the Spensor’s billing counter because Vishal thought that he had cleared the bills, though he hadn’t. Many such events happened everyday and Richa decided to take a definitive stand. She had to make it right. She had no idea when the love transformed from platonic to the cant-be-defined phase. And to bear seeing someone you love as such, to be destroyed right in front of one’s eyes is not what most humans are capable of. Taking things into her own hands, she convinced Vishal to move in with her. They started spending most of their time together. He seemed alright as long as Aisha didn’t walk past him in one of her corporate skirts and black silk stockings or until his boss called out for him. It wrenched Richa’s heart to see Vishal ogle at her like her’s were the most precious ones in the planet or to seethe in anger at the very mention of his bosses name.
That unfortunate day, things reached a threshold when Aisha caressed his cheeks for completing an assignment of hers. He picked up all the papers at his desk, went straightaway to the middle of the floor and flung all of it in the air. Perhaps he was imagining the ‘Pehla Nasha’ moment of his life. Nobody knew for sure as to what happened as the very next moment Richa crashed on him and both fell on the floor. The boss came out of his cabin to understand what caused all the ruckus but after a few angry questions here and there he was convinced it was an accident and he went in again. Generally speaking, it did look like an accident but only two people knew it wasn’t. He was profusely apologetic about the whole incident which she had to cover up and he did it all the day through.
That night as most others, after coming back from office and having dinner, when Richa and Vishal were smoking their usual joint together, she realized he was slipping away way too fast. She tried to chit chat about office politics and the kind of a pig his boss really was, and that he should visit a doctor but he was only half listening. Richa looked at him staring at the dark blankness of the winter sky, probably imagining things. The very thought that it could be something about Aisha was too painful to bear. Something melted within her, felt that the only cure for this disease could be love, in all its totality.
As she cupped his face in her palms and looked at the lost child, she felt more pity than love. She brought him in her warm embrace. He was still lost and clueless. The moonlight was more soothing once his eyes were closed. He shivered, feeling the sensation of her sharp nails against the back of his head, caressing the careless tuft of hair. As he wondered the shade of red they were, he felt the silk of stockings brush against his feet. The chill in the Delhi winter only accentuated the proximity. The moisture on the lips was warm and they were both in the want of warmth. As Vishal carried her to the bedroom, Richa could feel the beat of his heart, singing a thousand sonnets of how he had desired her all his life. The bed strewn with rose petals and the blanket with the velvet skin witnessed a Delhi winter turn into a Delhi summer. Skin chafed against skin, lips against lips. Bollywood would have had a thousand metaphors to help you visualize the kindness they both did to each other. Only, it was unrequited; for when the waves crashed against the shores, Vishal spoke some half words, “.. love… Aisha.. so long..” ..And the waves crashed, glasses smashed. A lot other things broke too.
What is it about true love that makes it live so long? If only hatred had learnt of that longevity potion, life would have been easier for many a sore souls.
Richa couldn’t give it up. Life went on as usual with small triumphs and heart wrenching agonies. It was one such unusual day. ‘T was time of the annual performance review at the company. It was time for Vishal to go in for a discussion with the boss regarding his performance. He was waiting outside the door for the boss to call him in. Through the glass doors, he could see Aisha standing beside the boss sharing some kind of a merriment. Richa was looking at him with anxious eyes from a distance. He saw Aisha turn back, him standing up, probably to escort her out. But when he saw the boss place his hand on her waist, something blew inside him. He barged into the room, yelling vulgarities at the boss. Took out a paper cutting knife out of the pen stand and stabbed it just above the shirt collar. As if in an action of reflex, he looked at Aisha. She was crying but something in her eyes told him, “Thank you for getting rid of the monster.”
Richa helplessly looked at the sad expression of want of acknowledgement of love on his face as he stared at the blank walls and then she looked back at the scared and panting figure of Aisha standing beside her, staring across the glass door.