Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Aisha #4

It was evening at Kanyakumari, a lot of people gathered at the beach to witness the sunset on the intersection of the three seas, The Bay of Bengal, The Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea, jut further down the famous Kanyakumari temple. Aisha insisted they should walk to the stretches of rocks on the beach, “Don’t you want to come to the south most point of the mainland India?”

“We are at the south most point.”

“Not yet, those people are, see those rocks?” she pointed to a group of people standing on the rocks further away from the land.

And they treaded the crisscross of rocks and overtook other group and were finally the people who were the farthest from the safety of the full-fledged stretch of land.

Yay! We’re at the south most tip of the mainland,” overjoyed she yelled into the wind, which was howling and making their dresses all willowy. She was holding his right hand in her left hand and with her right hand she’s keeping her dupatta in its place. She decided it was impossible to revel in the moment while struggling with her dupatta, so she finally took it and tied to her waist. She faced him and said, “Say with me, Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray! Hip hip --” she broke half when she saw a big breaker wave approaching them.
And the bigger wave was approaching fast and their place seemed like a bad place to stand. It was much more terrifying to watch it from a solo island-ish rock; the group behind them ran back. And Aisha and Anand couldn’t because they are blocked by the earlier group who were running back, jumping up on the rocks. “It’s okay, don’t worry, don’t look at it. Look at me,” he was saying while he himself was scared as hell. He was shivering. They did the only sensible idea they’ve got. They hugged each other as tightly as they can and closed their eyes shut. The water wave was not as destructive as it felt. It totally drenched them, and thanks to the groovy rock which offered much stability because of its height. Once the water receded, they extricated themselves and returned to the land in an awkward silence. Something happened to both of them during that hug, which spread unknown warmth into their chests.
They checked their plans and merged them to make a master plan for the South India trip. Going to Munnar, Alleppey, Mysore, Ooty and Hyderabad.

Back in Delhi they were waiting for their trains to return home. Aisha to the Jammu Tawi station. Anand to the Kiratpur, from where he has to catch a bus. There was palpable tension. She was fiddling with the ends of her dupatta, and he kept absently pushing his glasses up his nose bridge. His train arrived, both of them went inside to his berth, “Ah well, Aisha, then, um, we will meet later,” and he offered his hand for a handshake.

She grabbed his head and kissed him, a small kiss on his lips, “Well, you definitely lacked the courage, so I thought I bett--”

She didn’t finish her statement though, he took her in his hands kissed her back. This time it was a better kiss, not rushed like the previous one, a more passionate one like they were kissing moments before world would end. It was a while before they separated, sweating profusely despite the cool winter weather.

“I was lacking courage because I’m six inches less than your six feet requirement.”

“Oh yeah! But for you, I’ll make an exception,” she said and get off the train and went onto the platform.

Standing at the door entrance of the slow moving train, he asked, “Tell me one good reason, why I should not come with you this instant.”

“No, you shouldn’t because your grandma would be waiting, and you have a job to attend. Besides my family would freak out if they know about us. I have to tell all this to my dad and make him convince others. Write me a letter, under a girl’s name, let’s see, Anand, Anu. Yeah, use the name Anu in the signature.” And the train moved away.

She was definitely crying now, bittersweet tears coming out. She knew it’s him. She felt Anand is the only person after her dad she could trust her life with. Shortly after that, her train came and she left for Jammu.

Back at home, commemorating the end of her journey she again climbed the plinth of the weighing machine, and popped in a one rupee coin. The card came out after making the usual familiar noises, and flashing disco lights. She flipped it without waiting to see her weight, although she noticed, it read 54, on the back the quote said, ‘You never know what you have until you lose it.’

It didn’t make sense to her. She has never got such ominous looking quote when it came to those fortune cookies on the weight cards. She thought, “Right now there are only three important things in my life. Two important people- her dad and Anand - and the thing - her weight card book. And she valued them all. The quote didn’t make sense at all. She might have never guessed how it would start making sense a short while later.


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