Saturday, 15 August 2009

28 years

He saw her, he saw she was sublime.
She saw him, she liked his shoes.
"She made me want to start over," he'd later say,
"They were *really* nice shoes," she'd shrug.
The other men stood beneath their windows
Wooing her friends with spangly trinkets.
He came for her twice a month.
5 chikus were his offering.
"Did you know they're also called sapota?"
She stared at him, then shook her head slowly.

They went through the motions
Got married.
She for a roof, he for a second chance.
Had children.
She for companionship,
he to prove he could.
Left.
She from despair, he from indifference.
Returned.
Because they both keep promises.

The worst has passed,
for the first time they notice each other.
His mangled hands,
her maddening pronunciations.
His emotional stutter,
her unbelievable strength.
The story is told that
for the five days she wasn't home once,
he went hungry.
"She didn't make it, it wasn't worth eating."

The beautiful bits always stop short
so you never forget just how good it got.
She awoke one afternoon with the deafening silence,
his breath had stilled for the last time.
For as long as she lives,
she will never forget his slumped head
or that feeling of being well and truly alone.

The years fan out.
Some worth remembering,
some just disappear into others.
There are no smiling portraits on the wall.
No gracefully yellowed black and white photographs.
And the mind's moths continue uninterrupted.

The hallmarks of true love
have changed since 1981 too.
"Of course he loves me but he listens to bhangra-pop!"
"She's perfect except for her beer belly."
"I think I love him. Or do I?
No, I do, I do. But what if I don't?"
Thank God she's hard of hearing.
These eedyets wouldn't know love
if it smacked them full in the face.
She'd tell them her story
but devotion isn't part of their vocabulary.

3 comments:

indi said...

i would do anything to read now, the book you will write someday.

javed said...

this is lovely,

awesomeness.

and i've been an inspiration-less zombie for the last eight hours, trying to catch a word,

and i think,
i just woke up.

thanks :)

Vahishta said...

@indi: I've been telling her to write it for years now. She's as lazy as a certain dog sometimes.