Monday, December 06, 2010

In retrospect

Share/Bookmark

There is something ominous about the way the clock is ticking. He looks at it hanging on the wall. It reminds him of the day she followed the architect's assistant around the house like a shadow, getting pictures hung, wallpapers pasted at right angles and little stars painted on the ceiling in glow-in-the-dark paint. He remembers the warmth that engulfed him, just watching her. It was one of the things he always liked about her -- a delicious mix of passion and patience. Was it this quality of hers that made him fall in love with her? Or was it the way she could connect with almost anyone? However random or distant the people, she could engage them in conversation within minutes. Or maybe it was the way she always used a thorthu to dry her wet hair, and never let a plush Turkey towel take it's place. He tries hard to remember, hoping it would help him weave some sense into the mess their relationship has now become, but cannot.

He doesn't remember when they'd first met. Neither does she. That's the kind of lovers they were; the kind who didn't need to declare milestones in their relationship through dates, events or other people. He did not remember the day when he first kissed her, and she didn't save their first rose between the pages of her Random House dictionary. There were no grand celebrations on Valentines' Day, but they gave each other quaint little gifts on ordinary days, when something as commonplace as a kid's laughter tugged at heartstrings. They weren't each other’s better halves. They were two lost souls who shared their incompleteness.

They would listen to the silly fights their friends have with their husbands/wives, and wonder why every other couple out there weren't like them. They gave each other space, and sometimes they were each other’s space. They were inseparable, in an almost cosmic way. This made it all the more difficult for him to make peace with the current state of affairs.

When did that occasional, harmless lie creep in? What made him stay longer at work, even when he wasn't really busy? When did the eagerness with which he would check his phone for unread messages get replaced by disgust and paranoia? When did the seemingly joyous task of fixing him a cup of filter coffee turn out be a chore for her? How did they grow so far apart that togetherness seemed to look absurd?

Answers are hard to come by.

There is a knock at the door. It’s the lady from the rice mill, with the month’s supply of fresh, home ground masalas and powders, custom-made per his wife’s instructions. He pays her and walks back in with the jute bag, which is overflowing with a multitude of smells. What’s the use of customized flavors, if they leave such a bad aftertaste in the mouth?

Who reads this stuff, anyway?