Two entirely unrelated pieces, but I had to write them today-
The House Across The Street
It once throbbed with life. A large family grew and flourished within its walls not too long ago. The head of the family was an astrologer, and needless to say, much sought after- we pretend not to be superstitious, but when challenged by situations that we term extremities, ‘faith’ springs from an unknown source.
The house is now in a state of disrepair. The real-estate dealers, of course, compete for it fiercely. The paint is peeling off its walls and doors, the wreaths of leaves across its two doorways have turned brown and hang all askew. The ornate grills on the windows are brown with rust; a faded picture of The tree in front of the house is wan and listless, with winter admittedly playing a part in the decay. Graffiti in the form of advertisements is splattered across the walls. The plot adjacent to the one where this house stands has been converted into a giant dumping ground and open-air lavatory. Sad.
Seventeen Years On
I met her nearly seventeen years ago at the bus-stop in Bokaro. We’ve come a long way since then. We were together for only three years before I moved to Vizag, and then we wrote to each other religiously. She never forgot my birthday, and the letters and cards kept travelling back and forth and being saved up for posterity. Until gradually, the years caught up with us. With me.
I just didn’t give her enough time- I didn’t write frequently enough, didn’t call, even forgot her birthdate once (and I remember how upset she was). We used to call ourselves best friends. I wasn’t even being a good friend.
When I called her this afternoon after a very long time, I didn’t know if she was using the same number. I got lucky. She recognised my voice immediately and I was touched. I possibly couldn’t have been this cruel to a girl like her. She had tried to contact me several times, she told me, particularly on my birthday. If a relationship breaks off somewhere and can be picked up again anywhere down the line, there has to be something about it that makes it immune to the ravages of age and time.
“Next time you go to Singapore or Malaysia or anywhere else, please let me know,” she said, half-serious, half in jest.
I will. I mean to.