You were a wanderer
So was I.
You kept searching,
I walked by.
Just as when,
little by little
you stopped loving me.
I will oblige you too
by receding –
A little by little.
12 Sept 2010 2350 hrs
Another day at office, struggling to write something meaningful and more interactive, as my boss wants it. The metro rides would have been more mundane, but thanks to my books, they infuse life into me. Back at home, there is the pleasure of togetherness, the warmth of family, with a few fights and much laughter. Life has just been so normal again.
And then suddenly, for no reason, when I hit my bed, tears come rushing into my eyes. No one can hear my silent sobs or ask me that dreaded question, if I am alright!
The happy images of the past, and the things that could have been, but weren’t; the desire of the dreams which died unfulfilled knocks. Arvind wasn’t my need, I just wanted him.
Memories are very powerful. They shape us, and take us to our destination. I was trying to erase his presence, delete his pictures, remove his messages and just wipe him off my mind. I had thrown away the pen that he once gave me, that little lamp! Yes, that one which he surprised me with. I wanted to erase those lines written in my book, “To the days, as they will be”. Both of us were such dreamers.
I so wish I was a little more patient and see where Arvind would have taken our story. I was quietly giving up on him for the way his inclination was turning away. I still wonder what he would have done with that little piece of paper I had given him on the last day we had met.
That little diary, the grey shirt and one coffee table book. Ah! Memories, I hope he carries them in his pocket. His scribbles on the torn pages still startle me at times. I had slipped them under many corners of my room and crevices of my heart. At every encounter we try to smile at each other.
I wonder if my presence had made any difference to his life and if the absence bothers him now.
*** *** *** *** *** ***
10 Sept 2010 2200hrs
An empty envelope, a receipt and a fragrance of perfume mixed with her sweat that faded every day: that’s all I am left with after a relationship of three years. There are some memories too, some tears, a few giggles, the first touch and the first kiss, scattered between these years, which are otherwise empty, just like the envelope.
I have seen her everyday since that day. I have waited for her train at Metro stations just to catch a glimpse of her at her favourite spot – first door of the second coach from the front. I have walked around her office block just to watch her sip tea with colleagues. I have even parked my car next to hers for that sense of closeness that has vaporised.
There was a time when her sorrow was my pain, and her happiness was my joy. Now, her smile stabs my heart, and my blood curdles when her eyes twinkle for someone else.
She hasn’t changed much. Her hair is as messy as it was before, falling over her face time and again, irritating her at times. Her cheeks are less rounded now. Perhaps she isn’t eating well. Her eyes, well camouflaged with the kajal, reflected some of the sorrow inside. But she seems to be leading a normal life. She mingles with friends – guys and girls – as before. A few wolves sniffed a window of opportunity before the marriage and took their chances. She didn’t entertain them, but she didn’t fend them off either. She kept them on their toes, waiting. She seemed to enjoy it, just like she did when we were together. She would laugh at my insecurities. She laughs the same laugh now.
Is she sad at all? Does she even miss me? Has she moved on?
I had given her my first gift two weeks after we started dating. It was a small nose pin. That which I had even forgot of. Over the years, I gave her junk jewellery, real jewellery, clothes, shoes, bags, and whatever else a guy can give his girlfriend. She, on her part, had always made sure that one of these items was with her at all times, day and night, wherever she was. Today, she wears none of it. Her wardrobe had not changed much. But many things did disappear.
I have been seeing a new Madhura ever since we fell apart. My gifts have been discarded, my love trampled upon. What remains now is a tattoo on her ankle. It won’t be long before it is camouflaged into an abstract design. Perhaps this is her way of forgetting me, gift by gift, memory by memory. I, meanwhile, have run out of space to store away those memories.
I walk the roads we would walk together, sit alone at our favourite park bench, sniff her favourite flowers, pet her favourite stray dog, look for signs of togetherness: a heart carved with a pebble on the bench, a tree stump that failed to grow after she accidentally stepped on it and crushed it, a window of an abandoned shop I had broken in rage after a fight. They have been there all along, still and stagnant, like our relationship, even as the world moved on.
I have sat alone at home, slowly, painfully discarding any material memory of her — cards, books, ring, and clothes – for the artificial life that lies ahead, even as I know they will remain forever etched in my mind, trying to figure out what I wanted to tell her always.
Most of her stuff is gone now, except for that diary she gave me, which she had actually forgotten in my jacket on a rainy day. It has her scribbles of me; it still smells of her, somehow.
I will junk it the day I truly let go of my past.
Only the dead tree and the broken glass will be the epilogue of my (our) love story.