One fine late-in-the-evening!
It started when I was going home on my bike in a real rush through the bustling crowd of our town’s busiest roads. What is it that started? “The turn of fate.” Of course, it could have started much earlier; when I came out that evening, or when that girl came out of the house in that pink dress which made me look at her, or it might haven even started when my mom insisted me not to go, which mad me furious and got my feet to strike the streets, or maybe it started when she reluctantly sat on her dad’s bike, which probably she would have believed the safest ride she’d have ever taken. But yes, it would have even taken the start when I or she was born, or even before that, or. . . Shut the hell up, it would have started when this world was destined to be created, alright! Alright.
So, for my sake, it stated when I entered the street, carefully avoiding any innocent collisions with other automobiles, which they would immediately call as an accident. I can’t take that heat. So, even when the guys behind me were provoking me with their stupid herons to bully the car before me, nah, nah. I will never. I am vexed with those pay-me-6000rs-for-300rs-scratch fights with car owners.
Then is when, I saw her for the first time, of course, I would see her only once more after this! She was beautiful as hell. If hell is the ugliest place as they say, she is the competent counter-part of it. BEAUTIFUL is what you’d call her. Beautiful. Simple clothing. Her hair is not tidy; I think she just came from her house as she was, to get something immediately. She was wearing those bathroom flip-flops which my friend Usha Kiran used to wear for college like a stupid, believing me when I said they were trendy! But they really were beautiful for her. Her simple stature! Strands of hair were falling over her face and she looked like she came out from her kitchen looking for some missing ingredient. Beautiful. Oh I am sorry, I forgot in the rush, she came out with her dad; she was on her dad’s bike, when he was driving.
When I turned my eyes to see who her father was, I was shocked: it was my uncle. Yes, it is like real. My mother’s cousin. I never knew he got such a beautiful daughter! I thought to stop and ask. But it was already late, and so I couldn’t stop. Thinking I shall meet her again, I drove home.
Two months later:
I took my mom to a function. Some house warming. I don’t know whose house it was, except the logic that it’s the house of those who were warming it! My mom got busy with her friends and I couldn’t find anyone of my age there. I strolled all over the place and was quickly bored. Cell phone signal too wasn’t there to bully some guy over the phone. I sat in a chair and was wondering how this universe came into existence. Yeah, I did. I do actually, a lot of times. You don’t believe me? Ah, alright!
All of a sudden, my uncle came. I have many uncles, yes, but it’s the same uncle about whom I was writing. I was surprised, and wished him getting on my feet. We both sat side by side. I immediately wanted to ask him about his daughter. But I composed myself. Slowly, making it look not-so-curious, “Did she come?” I asked.
“Who?” he asked.
“I mean, your daughter,” I said.
“Oh,” he said, understanding whom I meant. “Aisha?” he said.
I don’t know the name, so I just nodded my head like I know, “Yeah, Aisha,”
“Oh no, she got exams. That is why your aunt too couldn’t come,” he said causally.
“Oh exams, that’s good.”
“Yes,” he was saying more to himself. “Nowadays these school guys are making a lot of scene even for a second class unit test. Like it is IAS or something, my god. I can’t take all that,” he was smiling and shaking his head, “it’s your aunt’s patience that’s all.”
Taking what he said, with a confused head I asked, “I didn’t know aunt was working in a school,”
“She isn’t,” he said casually.
“Ah, alright,” I didn’t know how to put the next. “Then why are you talking about second standard exams out of the blue.”
“Aisha is second standard na,” he was still nodding his head.
I didn’t reply anything for a while. I can’t ask my doubts. They’d be suspicious. I stood up and told him I’d be back in a while and ran to my mom. “How many daughters does uncle have?” she told me he got only one. “Her age?” she said she didn’t know for sure, but she is studying her second standard and told me that even I played with her a few years ago in a function.
Alright. I walked back and sank in my chair beside my uncle. I told him that I saw him one day with a girl on his bike. He recognized it immediately. He told me that she was his best friend’s daughter and that he took her out to bazar when she asked him. Her name was Neha. I didn’t say anything. I just nodded my head. “Anything to say?” my uncle asked me, really curious. He almost leant to look at my expression.
I shook my head, “No, no,” I said. It was hanging in the air. Alright. I didn’t want him to think something dirty in his head because of his curiosity. It would be much better if I told him what the thing was. “She is really beautiful,” I said finally. He relaxed in his chair and I went on. “Really, one of the most beautiful girls I’ve ever seen,” I tried not to look dreamy. “I thought to stop that day, but couldn’t,” I said, as a fact. “Then, I wanted to ask,” I stopped, evidently dreamy!
“What?” he asked.
“What?” I asked, becoming suddenly, suspiciously normal.
“I mean, what did you want to ask?”
“This, like, what I asked you now, that. I mean, who she was, that’s all,”
“Alright,” he said, tapping my thigh with a friendly smile.
“Alright,” I said in return.
Three months later:
“This is a costly wedding, alright,” I was telling to my mother, when she was getting down my bike. “If anyone asks me who I am, what am I going to say? I am not even their relative.”
“No one is going to ask, and this is just the engagement,”
“Yeah, like becoming poor by a single engagement,”
“Shut up. We wouldn’t be in the town on the marriage day, if not I’d have shown you one real marriage,”
“You mean all other marriages are not real? Yours and dad’s?”
“That is a joke? How would you see your parents’ marriage, genius? Just stay here, no funny stuff and I will be back soon,”
“Yeah, like tomorrow early in the morning,”
“Don’t be so irritated. Come on. Twenty minutes. Anyone asks, you are a family friend,” saying these she went inside the function hall, and I walked into the garden of the hall. It was beautiful yes, but the better word to describe it would be, costly!
Then is when I saw her again. I was behind her, but I can see and recognize her face from the side. I was tremendously happy to go there. She was standing and talking with someone. I don’t remember what she was wearing; all I remember was she was as beautiful as she was! I waited for those people to leave her. When they left, I walked straightaway to her and said ‘hey,’ from the behind.
I managed to scare her a bit, “Oh, hello,” she said. I don’t know how her voice was; I forgot except that it sounded sweet. “You are?” I said what my name is and offered my hand for a shake. She doesn’t know me, simply. “You are?” she asked again.
“Alright,” I said, making up what to say. “Your dad’s best friend Rama Krishna is my uncle,” I said, and there was a twitch in her face. I didn’t understand, but went on. “One day I actually saw you with him, and I wanted to stop and wanted to know about you, but couldn’t,” I was beaming when I was talking, for she didn’t stop, but was listening intently. “I thought you were his daughter, oh my,” I was laughing like stupid, but there just was another twitch on her face. What was that? I didn’t know then. I went on. “Then, I asked him about you and he told me that you are his friend’s daughter and all.” Then offering my hand again, “I can’t tell you how glad I am to see you again and finally, met you,” the triumph!
She didn’t return the hand shake, but looked around. Nobody was watching us. I was like, ‘is she going to hug me?’ before that thought can cross my mind completely, a palm was hurled on my face. Her palm. She slapped me. The pain and shock of it surged through my body to my mind and tears welled out of my eyes. My face was thrown aside. It felt like my cheek was torn. My lower lip tasted wet and hot. It was torn. I couldn’t face her. I didn’t know what has happened. But when I looked at her, she was crying looking straight at me and her skin was all pink with crying. She just ran away, and everyone was looking at me. The slap resonated all over the hall. By the time I searched for her again, she was lost into some room.
I can’t explain the incident, but I got to know from my mom that my uncle wen to the girl’s dad and told him what I said about his daughter. It seems she was sustaining the thread of her studies by a great hardship, cutting off all her friends and being reserved and all. My uncle induced shit ito her dad’s head and probed him that she’d be married before idiotic eyes like mine fall on her and before she would fall for some pair of eyes. Hm.
She was going to get married.
It would be a stupid marriage.
Hm. I deserve a thousand slaps, I thought, when I thought of it from her perspective.