Mariamman, was at it today. She graced us with tumultuous rain, ensuring I would have one last memorable moment with the one man, I find myself, relying on more and more, as I age. As we headed towards Noida, the wipers stopped working. ‘ Let’s stop the car and wait 007’, said my companion as I squinted and navigated through the deserted roads. James Bond, Ak 47, Poopie, he addresses me thus but never by my name. ‘ I got this’, I reassured my companion whilst he shook his head and smiled. With the passage of time, he thinks, I’ve started trusting him a bit or he’s just stopped expecting me to change, knowing it’s useless, SB consoles herself. Time nevertheless, has been kind to this friendship.
These days, poor man, has been reduced to being addressed to as joru ka gulaam, amongst other terribly unflattering things. What are the chances of me being someone’s joru? Quiet slim. Is it his age? He’s not that much younger, by my standards, the world’s maybe. The fact, that he came to Delhi, stayed in a hotel close by for over twenty days and ensured that I had a helping hand, while I sorted some stuff out, doesn’t help his case. His demeanour, doesn’t help it, either. He’s quiet but not a pushover. A little chauvinistic but like a lot of other boys I know, doesn’t pretend to be anything else. Try making him do something he doesn’t want to or say something unflattering about his family or me, then his Alpha nature comes to the fore and how. The other day, as I couldn’t get off the tractor (I somehow climbed on) with just one arm around my waist, he swooped me off it, while the farmers hooted and whistled. I turned crimson due to the effortlessness of it, the way my mum would, as he would lift her up and put her in the car, for our outings.
‘Sab time, time ki baat he. Kabhi jaani dushman dost ban jaate he aur kabhi dosti mein darare pad jaati he. Jo Khudda chahe!’ I overheard the men, discussing the other day at Qutub Sahib’s Dargah. True, isn’t it? Our attachments then, to anyone -old or new, then are irrelevant. The few people I thought, I couldn’t live without are dead or long gone and here one is, in one piece, sometimes grudgingly and sometimes what seems like, ecstatically, surviving! The Wall, of course is not fooled by any of it. He notices the excessive drinking and the smoking is making him, wild. ‘You quit, why would you start again?’. I keep quiet but SB, doesn’t fool him with any of her escapist ways- the new fascination, the smoking, the drinking, a lot of reading, no long drives, no exercising, no praying, he’s seen her slide down that slippery slope before and he preempts the crash.
My escapists ways, may worry this one but they manage to piss off so many people, it inflates SB’s ego. While, SC, almost died, in grief and sickness, many watched her state, gleefully. As her mother’s dead body lay in her house, they discussed her past affairs, her suicide attempts and her inheritance. As she tried to make sense of it all, totally coming apart at the seams, they rejoiced in her misery. The depression transformed into anger and that rage has always been the fuel, that transforms her into SB, into Kali. Now, they see her as she struts around and poses, picture after picture, smiling ear to ear. All they can do, is pass snide comments. On a whattsapp group the other day, one of the actors of the drama, posted something about figuring out how much wealth someone has by the smile on the elder’s faces in the house. SB typed, ‘how would you know, considering you’ve left yours all alone, in another city to die of cancer, by herself?’. SC, looked at the horrible display of vendetta and was totally appalled by SB. ‘ We are not stooping to this level,’ she argued with SB. ‘ People who live in glass houses don’t realize their houses are made of glass, till you don’t fling a stone at their homes and remind them!’ argued SB. After much deliberation, thankfully SC, won. The Wall, was as relived. ‘ Let them do and say whatever they please, you do, the right thing. Khudda dekhta he.’ Chalk and cheese, number 6 and number 9, that’s what we are. Like Umrao Begum, he keeps trying to put the fear of God, in me. Like Ghalib, I insist I will end up in the esteemed company of Pheron and the Devil. His attempts at trying to salvage my soul may have failed but he did touch my heart, with his thoughtfulness, as he left for the Souks, today.