On Ring Road

You take off your glasses and wipe it and curse the heavens. I am too busy kick-starting my bike to pay much attention to you. Or am I?
 
“Here, wipe your face with this” A huge hand-kerchief is offered. Jeez, do guys still use hand-kerchiefs – I thought it was the age of tissue paper.
 
Before you even complete the sentence, I have said No. Moron. Do you think your kerchief will protect my dignity from Indra’s vagaries?
 
“It won’t protect you. But the rain drops won’t hit you so hard on the face, if you have something covering you. Why on earth don’t you wear a helmet?”
 
You have been always good at reading my mind. “Loser” I mutter. 
 
“What”
 
“The rains! Can’t I get angry about the bloody monsoons?”
 
“You are the one who loves rain, goes all poetic about the damn thing”.
 
So I am. Do you have a problem with it? Its not that I go poetic looking into your eyes. When was the last time we talked? Yesterday – you were discussing Rubco chappals.
 
You are wearing nice shoes now though. Nice tan leather shoes. I like tan shoes, though I bet they getting wet and squiggly. I snigger. Not too long though. A gust of wind blows a tree branch right on to the middle of the road. Great, now we have firewood to light a fire, in case we get marooned on Ring Road.
 
I turn my back toward the wind. The rain drops feel like pin pricks on my skin. Tiny ones, like the ones I felt when you were laughing with her yesterday. I am glad about the rain drops. Taste of your own medicine.
 
My teeth are beginning to chatter. I shuffle.
 
 “ Come here.”
 
“No”
 
“Suit yourself. Jeez, I could die for a ciggy”.
 
Oh what the f***. Am I supposed to die like I wonder? Looks like this might be the Bombay deluge. But in Bombay, there was a mass of humanity who formed human ropes and helped each other ; you will get me out of here? With your hair plastered on to your forehead, and your half crouching position, you don’t really inspire too much confidence, you know. Maybe they will find us together tomorrow, in an embrace, just like they found Tom and Maggi in the Mill on the Floss. Now, where on earth did that come from?
I can’t see very well. The cars pass by, windshields swaying furiously. The lights are faint, and the road is slowly flooding. Some of them slow down as they pass by, but don’t stop. I wonder what they are thinking about us. Lovers maybe. Lovers romancing on ring road, and caught in the downpour. So ridiculous.
 
It’s a grey landscape. Grey rain, grey clouds, grey sky. Streaks of silver lightning. Grey blue tarred road, fast disappearing with the dirty brown water accumulating at the edges. I shiver once more.  
 
The pavement is not much. Just elevated mud, now squishy pudding. Dots of grass and I stare at them with all my concentration. Is the feeling of numbness good? Beyond, it is defence land – where they makes planes, or fly them, or whatever. Straggly trees, not like the ones in Kerala. And lots of grass, like in praires I guess. Getting bashed up thoroughly, all of them. Just like us.
 
“Come over”
 
“No”
 
“Listen, this is ridiculous. Lets move closer to edge. The wind could blow you over to road, and I don’t intend coming after you.”
 
I always knew that. Why would you come after me?
 
“Ok”
 
You move over close to the fence. One lone straggly tree. I lean against it. Is it safe – does wood conduct electricity? I can’t seem to remember. My eyes are on the chest hair peeking out of your T-shirt. Straggly, like the trees. Nice. Sigh.
 
“Why the sigh?”
 
“Nothing”
 
“Common, what is it?”
 
I look up from the chest hair. Eyes, silver blue stare at me. Tenderly? Confused, I blabber. “This rain is called Vennal Mazha you know, but its untimely you know, and its beautiful in kerela, you know, really beautiful, fiery and cleansing…”
 
I am blabbering I know. Do you know this is exactly what happens you start discussing something serious? I get shy. And scared. And embarrassed. Some people get quiet, some people get talkative, I get garrulous. And then, I blabber again, when I see you walk away from me. The disappointment in your eyes pricks. Like these rain drops.
 
My voice tapers off. The rivulets flow past your chin and down your neck. Down to the chest hair.
 
“ We can talk you know”.
 
I look up sharply at the humor in your voice. Teasing is it? Silver blue eyes smiling.
 
“Tell me about Kerala” Still teasing, is it? I search through his eyes. Can only see silver grey. It was the landscape.
 
Talk with the heavens pounding on us? Jeez, the guy must be crazy. “You have read this book on the rains..by Anita Nair?….”
 
The grey is changing color. To silver maybe. I am talking. You listen, silver blue eyes as watery as the clouds above. I wonder if you notice the way my clothes are sticking on to me. I straighten up so that you don’t notice my tummy sticking out.
 
“Looks like the rain is subsiding. We could get going you know”
 
“I know. I have never read this book you mentioned. But the description that you are giving now is much less pretentious you know. Do you write? You should you know..”
 
I move away. “Wait ”
 
Silver blue eyes again. Before I know, I can feel your breath on my face. Not warm , just silver blue or silver grey – I don’t know. One finger pushes away the hair away from my eyes.
 
My hair – jesus f***** Christ! I am sure I look a sight. Self-consciously I run my hands through them. Silver blue eyes smile again. One hand catches my hands and place them on your shoulder.
 
“Wait a sec.” For what? Jeez, does the guy have to give orders even while he is about to kiss?
 
I close my eyes. I can feel the wet kerchief as you wipe my face.  And then, your arms around me. Was that your lips graze the back of my neck? A touch, a graze, imagination.
 
 And then you gather up my hair. Away from my neck and tie it with the kerchief.
 
“There. That’s so much more better”. I open my eyes. Silver blue smiling eyes again. “You have lovely collar bones. Show them off .”
 
“umm”
 
“Let’s get going. I will help you start the bike.” We rode away.
 

We discuss Rubco chappals next week. And I have started tying my hair with a kerchief.

23 comments for “On Ring Road

  1. May 10, 2006 at 2:48 pm

    Wow!
    Written very beautifully!

  2. May 11, 2006 at 4:47 am

    Nice post!

    This was awesome! It’s written so well that I could actually see everything happening in front of my eyes! Loved it!

    • May 11, 2006 at 4:58 am

      Re: Nice post!


      That’s what great writing is all about…

    • May 11, 2006 at 8:08 am

      Re: Nice post!

      Thanks sweetie! As i said, “inspired by a true incident”;-)

  3. May 11, 2006 at 11:25 am

    Hi. Got here thru bomboy’s link, and love reading ur slice of life posts. Can I add you on to my LJ F list?

    🙂 mahesh

    • May 12, 2006 at 7:56 am

      Sure, go ahead. Will add you back:-)

  4. May 11, 2006 at 12:41 pm

    Hi!

    Bomboy pointed me to this post, and I must say, it is beautifully written. 🙂

    • May 12, 2006 at 7:58 am

      Thank you. and thanks for dropping by:)

  5. Anonymous
    May 11, 2006 at 10:42 pm

    eDee pennae, nee aaruvaa ennaa ninte vichaaram?

    Shobha De? athoh Nancy Saturday?

    Please don’t write such kambi things, I will get distracted from my tapasya of Vishwamitran proportions … 😉

    Yours Sin-see-whore-lie
    St.Celibus of Virgin Merry

  6. May 12, 2006 at 3:03 am

    Made me smile in a sweet but sad way..
    Take care

  7. May 12, 2006 at 8:00 am

    Re: eDee pennae, nee aaruvaa ennaa ninte vichaaram?

    Sorry, but no sorry:-d. Have no intention of being Menaka, but dont intend to stop writing either:)

    • May 12, 2006 at 12:18 pm

      Re: eDee pennae, nee aaruvaa ennaa ninte vichaaram?

      Megha `De`,
      Plz don’t stop writing or righting or wronging or lefting as long as u keep on scandalizing ;-). The `day` u ‘stop to write’ for us will be the `day` we ‘stop to (last) rite’ for you.
      —St.Celibratus of Beer’n’gin Merry

      PS: You shud write a magnum opus one `day` and call it Megham Opus. Since I am God, I’ll just name mine ‘Opus dei’. But then since I make mistakes all the while maybe I should just name it ‘Oops (I) d[e]i(d it again)’ 😉

      • May 12, 2006 at 12:33 pm

        Re: eDee pennae, nee aaruvaa ennaa ninte vichaaram?

        You are incorrigble:)

  8. May 12, 2006 at 11:24 am

    My reply to your post in my LJ:

    Welcome…
    You should send it to one of the short story competitions…
    R u a writer by any chance?
    (I am a journalist based in Bombay).
    Cheers!

    • May 12, 2006 at 11:34 am

      R u a writer by any chance?

      Nope, not really. My work involves some amt of writing, but hardly any creative stuff.

      Nice to meet you!:-)

  9. May 12, 2006 at 4:24 pm

    Hey a few more F***(s) here and there you would sound like Eminmen.

    PS : By the way i consider him highly creative so dont feel offended incase you dont like him. As all great people have equal num of people who hate and like them

  10. May 13, 2006 at 10:49 am

    very well written

  11. May 15, 2006 at 11:00 am

    Congrats.

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