She stood still on the porch with distant eyes and bouncing hairs. Her gaze, dreamy and stance suggestive. Yet, she demanded attention and a prolonged stare. I had succumbed to the beauty so much so that time had stood still for those precious 10 minutes when she just leaned onto the iron bars with a submissive push. I had run the imagery over and over multiple times. The more I did so, the more it made me determined to stand there right in front of her with not a tiny morsel of shame. Such had been her effect on me that the scorching sun was unable to deter me from my shameless mental voyeurism.
I was new to the city. My presence in Mumbai had been just a week-long and here I was looking right into my idea of paradise. I looked at her with penetrating eyes. I searched her for any traces of flaw. Flaw, I did not find any. Perfection, I did. She reminded me of something. I could not recall then and there what that thing was. My inability to unravel the resemblance was unnerving and unsettling. I knew not of the connection within.
Mira. The exotic flavor with mystified embellishments. Mira, the one sight I could not let go. Mira, the girl who brought my world tumbling down.
I had always been the proverbial common man. The usual engineering-management-job kinda guy whose world revolved around things that were mundane in the eyes of Mira. I was a content chap. Life had nothing extra-ordinary to offer me and I had made peace with the fact. Little did I know that in a span of 1 week my secure bird nest would be a distant history. Fate is a strange thing,at face value it keeps you wondering and in hindsight it keeps you interested. My fate had been sealed on that sunny Friday, my trajectory defined and locked.
I was unperturbed. Drenched with the afternoon sweat, I paid scant attention to the happenings around me. My eyes were fixed on that angel who had unknowingly inflicted on me her flawless elegance.
Our eyes met and stayed there for a little too long. She registered my presence without a sign of acknowledgement. Somehow she seemed to understand the hapless guy standing beneath her porch looking up at her with shameless and persistent eyes. It was surreal to think of having met a person so delightfully perfect without actually having met the one. Sometimes a glance is all it takes to understand the person in full, sometimes a lifetime falls short of achieving that objective. In my case, here on this deserted road beneath that fateful porch I had known. I had known that if there was such a thing as bonding, I was experiencing it first hand. Bonding is not a two-way street mind you. Neither does it demand reciprocation. All it takes is a sense of satisfaction and intriguing calmness that descends on you and keeps you on cloud 9.
It took me 3 days to finally convince her of my purpose. 3 long days of April summers. Finally she seemed to give in.
We met on a Monday. The last day of April and the sun seemed to shine brighter than usual. I walked her to the Costa Coffee nearby and sat there without any of us having said a word. I was content with it being that way. I was terrified of ruining the one thing that had me in a state of trance the whole of the week.
Seldom do you come across those fleeting sensations of satisfaction, seldom do they cross your path but when they do you hold onto them like a child holds onto the last candy in the jar.
I was the child. With expectant eyes I stared at the stranger in-front of me. A stranger though not entirely so. Then she started talking and words flew out of her like shells from a battle howitzer. Ans she was at her restrained best then! The pent-up energy was all too visible even then though it had understandably been belted down. I just sat there mesmerized while she did the talking.
They chased me through the streets of Mumbai in dead night. Pratap and his goons had left no stones unturned in making me pay for the carnage at Mahalaxmi. Numb with paralysing fear I had nothing left to hold onto and fleeing away from the maddening scene seemed to be the only way out. I had come to accept everything by then and the death and the destruction left no effect whatsoever on me.
To be Continued…