Friday, December 09, 2005

It's the memories that keep one alive...

What else do we have? A soft brush of her opisthenar against yours... The shop where you bought your first lunch... The mud path which has now been replaced with a wide two-way road... The priests at the temple nodding their acknowledgement and putting aside a coconut half for you... New employees who stop to say hi... Old peons who give you a quick bow... The stray dog which stops barking and wags his tail hoping you would relive his memories of a morsel that you fed him... memories.... memories... memories! Is that all a soul can have after a three and a half year relationship? Painful memories! Pleasurable memories that hurt by virtue of being mere memories. And they say I have a hard heart not to have cried!

She is one of the softest women I have known. She is soft in so many ways. In what she says, in how she laughs, in how she relates, in how she says so many things without saying a word. I knew her for 2 years and I really enjoyed her company every minute. We were a default pair. People would ask me her whereabouts and conversely. People would assume that I know why she wasn't in that day. Her husband would call me to tell me if she wasn't coming to work. People would wonder if they saw me having my lunch alone some day. She was a significant reason for my staying on with my job. She was a significant reason for cracking silly jokes. How she would laugh? So softly... so sweetly... and I would want more of it. She never refused me her laughter except when she had an operation in her mouth. I didn't joke that week. I still recall the look on her face when I told her that I had decided to leave... She was aghast and said, "Not fair." We couldn't really get to say bye to each other. Lovers of a different kind... and I am told that such friends do not say bye, not when you know that you aren't going away. On our last lunch together, she laughed a lot and towards the end she looked at me and said, "E, I am laughing on the outside." And they say I have a hard heart not to have cried!

We built our house with a lot of ideas and plans. Mom wanted her garden where she would plant all kinds of vegetables. I wanted a nice old fashioned Rajasthani interior for the main hall and a large space for a room to create sufficient clutter! We got them all. A house that was always cool even in the height of Hyderabad's heat. A nice sunrise greeted us every morning. Winter mornings greeted us with shlokas from the temple around 5:00 hrs. Our house is a long one with rooms placed along their sides rather than in a square enclosure with corners rubbing shoulders. I realised how big my bath was when it was emptied by the packers. The hall had these corner showcases with large Kerala lamps which were never lit. Glass shelves which let light pass through and flowers and vines which seemed to outgrow their synthetic origins and take a life of their own... much like the house did. Before I left the place, I walked down the length of the house and shrugged my shoulders as I entered every room. I didn't know what to say to the wardrobe doors which stayed ajar. I didn't know what to say to the space which once held my computer. I didn't know what to say to the corner which fought with all my books. I just waved out to them and quickly turned around to check that no one saw me do that. I walked past the main wash-basin and ran my hand under the tap which refused to stop dripping that day. A brief pause to the note of water falling in a ceramic basin... a sniff... and the dripping continued. I stepped out of the house and walked on, not wanting to look back lest I have to answer my door's: When will you return? I didn't know what to say. And they say I have a hard heart not to have cried!

There was so much created. It was in its startup mode and I had had a free hand. People had come down from all over the world to create the office. I was one of the first employees here in India. I was allowed to do anything I felt right for the company. People trusted me. People encouraged me. People joined in. People were hired. People connected. People resonated with the spirit. People laughed together. People frowned at the new joinees who brought in a different flavour. People soon let them in and created a new flavour. The recognition was intoxicating. The accolades mounted. Even the dull greys and yellows seemed good enough. And then things changed... I couldn't stop it. As I descended 5 floors I saw what had happened in 2 years and how much I had lost myself in it. When I got into my car to go back home on the last day, few friends waved out; the building seemed to sway or was it something in my eyes? And they say I have a hard heart not to have cried!

"E, I feel like Chinese today. Where do you recommend I go? I want something tangy out there."
"E, I really have to impress her. I have no clue what she likes. Yeah she likes that... hmmm that too. Kinda... how do you know? Ok. So where should I take her? What should I order?"
"Parents are coming down today. Pure veg place. Any good ideas?"
Fusion 9, Koyla, Eat Street, Urban Tadka, Utsav, Tex-Mex, Ohris, Mainland China, Golden Dragon, Taj Krishna, Touch, Gokul, ... name it.
I drove past all the hotels and restaurants that I had frequented. Few days before I visited some of them for the last time and the waiters came over to say bye and the manager of one even gave me contacts in restaurants in Madras. I seem to have lost my appetite of late... And they say I have a hard heart not to have cried!

Hyderabad gave me a lot, like a true lover. I never asked her for anything. I never expected that she would give me something different, something new, something that I would love. And she gave me all. Great friends. Great experiences. Warmth. Love. Laughter. And I still couldn't ask her for anything. But I left her. Walked away without turning back even once. Walked away when she promised me a cool winter where she would let me cuddle under a thick quilt. She raised a lot of traffic hoping to buy time. She was warm that night and then cold. Understandably. And they say I have a hard heart not to have cried!

Its not that the heart is hard, my friends. The heart is soft, my dear, fairly soft. It is only a softened heart that can contain the tears -- tears that threaten to betray the truth.


  1. :)..and I say the same thing in my blog? - "She's a tear that hangs inside my soul forever."
    Beautiful E, a post that made me sigh deeply..

  2. Parvati8:22 AM

    You are indeed brave - to have bared your soul thus for all to see...

  3. IF only every pain could be displayed with the tears flowing from Eyes,At times deep inside my heart bleeds,for it knows how it hurts to depart..but to accept and love on with a smile is all life about"

  4. sorry,it was "to accept and move on with a smile is all life about"

  5. And i remember these lines
    "Don't be dismayed by good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends"
    Richard Bach

  6. yes life is all about moments and memories.

  7. Touching!
    Togetherness, separation, getting back together, separation, regrouping, separation. Hard facts of life, sad truths in life.

  8. Now, they say that absence makes the heart grow fonder ... and stronger.

    Beautifuly written - the beauty of your writing lies in the fact that you did not allow your reader 'me' move to tears, since that wonderfully nagging line ...

    And they say I have a hard heart not to have cried!

    ... kept me curious. Moved I was bt touched only as I finished reading the last word. If I were the sentimental girl I was a few years back the tear drops would have flowed freely as I finished - The sensible me (I'd like to think *grin*) thought instead to cheer yo up with this comment. And yes

    its the flavour of the past memmories which spice up our present. Original quote by me :-)

  9. Madhu4:06 PM

    Avast! Ye, Carpathian Carpetbagger.

    How in the mighty heavens was I to know that so much would transpire between my two visits to your blog.

    Thanks to santa. bloggers may move but blogs remain to pull them back to our company.

    Warm wishes and best of luck