Wednesday, 13 July 2011

15 Years

It couldn’t have been better- this evening.
She was wearing a most gorgeous black saree with silver zari work. Almost looked like she had plucked the sky and draped it around herself. Not to mention that she herself was a pretty lady, shining like the moon in the dark night. It had taken her a week to finally find that perfect outfit to be worn on his perfect evening- the evening when his promotion would be announced.

He was hard working, smart, intelligent and he deserved the success that was being showered on him. Handsome? No he wasn’t. But, then.. she was in love with him… and that was enough..

Her hair was done beautifully. Tied up high like those Old Age Egyptian queens. She was wearing danglers reaching up to her shoulders…. And a single Ruby set among a commotion of diamonds adorned her right ring finger.

He ran his finger through his hair… he did it often. The wind was blowing against his face…. It was a cold night … and he was happy….

She was reclining on her seat…….sitting next to the man she loved… yes, she was happy.

They had been silent for around twenty minutes now….
It was difficult to say why…
Maybe they were tired…
Or maybe they were at peace….not needing any words to be spoken …..
Soon, they’d reach the city, he’d drop her to her apartment and they’d kiss goodnight.. and he’d go back home…..everything was pretty much the same everyday….

“How long have you known me?” he broke the silence.
She continued looking out the car window… with an unfocussed view of dark shadows whizzing by…..
“15 yrs”, and after a pause, “why?”
“hmmmmmm…” was all he replied.
He turned on the music.
Jagjit Singh’s velvet voice filled up the night with the beautiful “Koi fariyaad…”

After a good few minutes he told, “OK, let’s see how much you know me….”.
She turned and looked at him, he was smiling ahead…
She turned back to looking at the whizzing ghosts in the night….
It was a calm night, and it was cold.
“what’s my favourite colour?”
“Blue”, she chimed.
“My favourite food?”

“My best friend?.... best boy friend I mean..”, he laughed.
“huh!!! Amit”, she rolled her eyes.
“Alright! Mmmmm, my favourite singer?”
“Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan”.
“Good,” he smiled, “hmmmmm, what are my career plans?”
This she knew only too well, “Start an eatery chain”.
“What do I want the most in my life? Right now? The most?”

She was still looking out.
The lights from the city growing bigger as the car neared them…. The wind still blowing against her face…
‘What does he want the most in his life?’, she mused.
She knew what SHE wanted the most….but, he… what did he want???

“You want to get married”, she said plainly.
Far away, by the side of the road, she could see an ice cream hoarding in brilliant red and green neon lights…she focused her sight on it. It had a picture of a basketful of kittens.
“To?”, he asked.
The hoarding grew bigger……
She could see the words better now… ‘Beat the Heat’ it read.
The hoarding grew still bigger.


And the hoarding passed them by…..or their car passed it by, whichever way the better.
With the object of focus lost, her eyes dropped on to her lap, looking at her ring… the ruby in the commotion of diamonds….before he reached out and turned her hand, palm facing up, her fingers entwined with his, and he said,

“So, what you say girl?”

She looked up at him, he was driving, concentrating on the road ahead… or appearing to concentrate on the road ahead.
And Jagjit Singh’s voice sang in the background - ‘Ek lamhe mei simat aaya sadiyon ka safar… zindagi tez bohot tez chali ho jaise’

Yes, it couldn’t have been better- this evening.

~Almas Kiran Shamim

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