Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ménage à trois

Three corners of this world
He thought he had arranged it all. I could see that his pace was that of someone who had ran the entire scene - cast, costumes and all - in his head, tweaking portions of it here and there to extract a nod from some faceless critic of life's videos, and growing impatient in the wake of the moment when he would carry it all out and step on stage for his bow. He could practically hear people speaking - in the hope that their words went unheard - about the remarkable demarche that he was about to carry out. He went about nudging my armchairs to correct the distortions that my room caused when superimposed on the motion picture in his head. He smiled at the coffee table and swooped to change the page of the newspaper lying there to the review of some unctuously saccharine romantic movie that was showing in Minerva. He snapped back to his position, cocked his head to the side and smiled.
"She's coming, yes?"
"Yes, Jai, and if you stop running around in circles I might still be conscious enough to receive her."
"You will, you will. You fine? Don't let her know I am here. Ok? Maybe we should move the sofa a little behind."
He rushed to push it, with me on it when I warned him that he might just have turned to pulp the roses he had hidden behind the sofa.
"Holy shit!"
He ran around to cradle the rather malnourished bouquet in his arms.
"What are you planning to do with her?"
"Come on Andy! What else? Shhh... shhh. It's a secret. I will let you know when I'll let you know. By the way, do not forget to give her the biscuits. She loves the smell of them."
I couldn't grasp his excitement. I had a fair idea of what he planned on telling her, but the need for such elaboration was beyond me. I continued to sew the button of my shorts back in place. It was always a pleasure running the needle through the button holes watching it sink in, dragging an otherwise flimsy thread until it fastened around the bridge between the holes of the button. Something about this task made me feel a great connection to life, a rather organic analogy to the whims of life itself. Where the holes had little of the button in them, they allowed for the button to ...
"Andy, she's here!" Jai hissed into my ear and proceeded to straighten my tee. I slapped his hand away and tilted my head towards the rear of the sofa.
I casually walked down to the door only to notice Jai's footwear mingled with mine. I hesitated - why bother!? It wasn't my fault but a mere facilitation of a possible act of God. I opened the door to find Anita push her mobile into her jeans' pocket.
She hugged me before giving me a quick peck on the cheek.
"Should I assume that means you are fine?"
"Come sit."
It wasn't often that I was welcomed into my own house.
"So, what's up?"
"Andy, I have something to tell you."
"Don't waste the three words on me."
"Shut up, Andy."
"There, I told you!"
"What are you doing?" She was staring at the sewing kit on the sofa.
I lifted my shorts straight into her view.
"God! You really are gay aren't you?"
"Yes, and so is every tailor you allow to measure your bust for a blouse."
She shook her head and smiled.
"I am planning to get married."
"Aha! And the person in context would be?"
"You don't know him."
"Are you certain? There are very few men in your life whom I am unaware of."
"You don't know him."
I peered deeper into her eyes and watched her move back at the same pace.
"Andy, I can trust you."
"And I would normally ask on what basis, but we'll let that pass."
"I am leaving Bombay with him."
"And that would mean he", and I leaned back on the sofa, "would be aware of this plan too?"
"Of course."
"What do you want of me? Other than these biscuits?"
I offered the plate to her. It would have been odd to have some of them without offering it to her. She took one and I continued, "I remember you liking the smell of these."
"Hmmm. Were you not gay, you would make a very caring lover."
I started to protest but was uncertain about what. Like a pair of misguided trains simultaneously entering a tunnel, I felt the need to slam home the point about men also needing caring partners and the twin correction of my preferences, but I shut up. She patted my cheek and proceeded to explain.
"I can't do it here in Bombay."
"I understand", I said without having a clue to what was driving her out of this city.
"Mom and dad will call you first, once they notice that I am missing."
"Because I am gay and know everything about the women in this city?"
"Whatever. They will. You should tell them that you think I have gone to Delhi."
"But you are not going there?"
"Of course not, silly."
"And you would be going where?"
"Cal... Doesn't matter."
"I understand."
"Can you do that?"
"But what about the luggage you are leaving behind?"
"I have packed what I need and it is at... his place."
"Hmmm. What about the luggage you are carrying with you?"
"What about it?"
I shrugged and sighed.
"What are you trying to say, Andy? What? You are trying to act like some priest now?"
"Because I am gay?"
"Shut up, Andy"
"I told you about those words!"
She grew silent. She wanted this court's hearing. She definitely wanted to say her say before she disappeared. All I had to do was push the needle slowly through the hole diagonally across such that the button had one less degree of freedom. I could actually hear a thread snap when pierced by the needle tip.
"Listen Andy. I didn't do anything wrong here. I was simply having fun and cannot babysit all those who didn't realise that."
"Like Jai."
"Jai? What about Jai?" her eyes narrowed, "What has Jai been telling you?"
"Nothing more than I know about you. Biscuits, roses, DDLJ, the works."
"Andy", she stood up and was getting ready to leave,"What is done to relieve boredom is not used to fill life's bathtub."
She walked out of my house and shouted from the bottom of the stairs.
"Damn you, Andy! I hate you, but remember that I am in Delhi."
"Or Calcutta."
I heard her swear and felt the urge to come up and vent her anger, but her heels clacked away.
I continued fastening the button in place when I heard the crumpling of plastic sheets from behind me.
Jai jumped in front of me and laughed,
"Damn! That girl really bought into my story. Damn silly, man. I had told her that she should meet me in Calcutta and we can start our life there. Gosh! She is so easy to..."
"Shut the door before you leave, Jai."
The first impact of a glass bowl falling to the ground is to splatter it radially outward - like Jai's mouth and eyes.
"I only wanted to wish her the best in life. I knew about her plans of escape. I did, Andy. I was close to her."
"Hmmm. So who is the guy?"
Jai turned around thinking of a possible name.
"Does it matter?"
He shook his head, his back still towards me.
"Nope, it doesn't."
He opened the door and before shutting it he turned his face to the hinges and said, "You really are lucky, Andy. I so wish I was gay too."
This time the needle broke my skin.


  1. Anonymous12:57 PM

    Long time!

    # Very Nice. Interests one, and grips one slightly too, even though it is not a 'proper' story is it, with a beginning middle and an end, though actions are there that mark the beginning/middle/end.

    As one reads it, one wants to know where it was going to lead from the very first paragraph.

    # Description of the stitching of a button is indeed well written.

  2. Something about this task made me feel a great connection to life.......
    ....analogy to the whims of life itself..

    The web of life.