On the first birth anniversary of Camouflaged Whispers, presenting a guest post by Uday Mane.
*Applause* 😀 😀
It’s a warm day, he thought.
It was surprisingly a warm day for mid-December. He was wearing a jacket and had started regretting it now. A drop of sweat was finding its way from behind his ear. He rolled down the window and a strong surge of wind barged in against the speeding cab.
He turned towards her. She was lost in her own thoughts, staring at shops racing behind them; trying to catch a glimpse of each, or probably read the names on each. Was this a game she played with herself when riding in a car? He wished to know but decided against interrupting her concentration. The wind had blown her hair away, and now she had brushed them to one side, holding them with her hand. He liked the sight of her by his side.
He was happy for no reason.
She turned to him, and caught him looking at her. There was no change in her expression, neither of a surprise nor of an offense; as if she was saying, I like it when you look at me and can’t get enough of it; whatever this is between us, I wish we could do this and not worry about when the day is close to an end.
He smiled at her and she knew he was expressing his gratitude.
There is nothing to thank, she let her eyes speak.
There was nothing to thank; she loved being by his side, as much as he did by hers. Fate or destiny, what was it, she believed in none or cared less; but whatever had brought them together in this moment; racing against the time, and all odds of the nature pitched against them; whatever this was, was beyond her understanding.
She was happy for no reason.
She smiled back at him, “take off your jacket,” she said. “Aren’t you warm?”
He did, obediently so. He felt light. He put the jacket between them. She picked it up and rested it on her lap.
Let not anything come between us, a random thought crossed her mind and surprised her.
They took a cab, as always they did, from Cadell Road to Nariman Point. She loved this route, and he had come to realize why. She shared a fascination for the sea. She did request the cab driver to drive closer to the sea, no short cuts, take the long way if need be, she insisted. She loved racing by the sea. She loved watching the tides wet the sand serenely, or hit the rocks in rhythm. She loved the sound and sight of it.
They were crossing Worli Seaface. Her eyes were fixated on the water all along, as if she had lived her life yearning to meet the sea, as if to fall in love with it. She looked at it with deep passion, as if she had longed the sea for ages.
She spoke in between her moments, till she caught glimpse of the sea again and turned her thoughts to it. He felt a tinge of jealousy sparkle inside him.
Jealous of sea, he thought, you are losing mind. But why not?
He wanted her, all for himself. And why not? He would give her everything she did ask for.
Everything? Jealous of sea? He mocked at his self.
“What are you thinking?” she asked.
He nodded in denial and smiled again. They had reached Marine Drive and the Sun had begun to find its way beyond the waters. It had changed its color to Orange. The orange that was now shining in her eyes; it made her a pleasant sight.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” she said drooling at the preparing sunset.
“Yes,” he said, referring to the color of her eyes.
She did not utter another word till the sea, the sand, the rocks and the orange sun were lost beyond the gigantic glass buildings.
“Almost there,” she said reaching for the jacket and handing it over.
They walked along the long curved stretch on Nariman Point, quiet most of the times; but thoughts gushing inside them. When the sun had found its ultimate beauty and threatened to drown miles away, she decided to find a spot and enjoy the view.
He let her choose the spot, and she chose the least crowded one, on a lonely tripod. They let their feet hang in the air, the breeze blowing strong in their face, cold, friendly and welcoming. The orange light was serenely spread over the mile long water lazily stretching in front of them. The water behaved itself, lying peacefully, as if the entire sea had set itself for her pleasure only. The smile on her face was unchanging.
Let this moment stop right here, he thought, let her enjoy the sight of the sea and I the sight of her.
“What is it about the sea?” he asked.
“The beauty,” she said, “is in not knowing why you love something. It’s the only way to protect the love. Why look for answers that don’t matter?”
There was a hidden secrecy in her voice as was the depth in her answer. He had loved her dearly since the day he met her, and he knew no reason. Does knowing why you love something changes the way you look at it? And he wished forever, that he only loved her without having to know why.
“We should not do this so often,” she said. “I may fall in love.”
He wondered and waited to see if there was an end to the sentence. He wished not.
She turned to him and said realizing so, “with the city.”
“Of course,” he said.
They sat in that moment, waiting for the sun to bid goodbye and set far beyond their reach. The sea had begun to disappear in the arms of endless darkness.
“I like being here with you,” she said, “even if we are hardly talking.” She said, smiling this time, in gratitude.
This is the moment, he thought.
“It’s like a dream, isn’t it?” she continued, “looking at the invincible beauty of nature. And when the sun sets far beyond and the sea hides in darkness, you turn back to face the reality that is the deep jungle of glass and cement buildings and a life that hangs on your career choices and depends on learned people dressed in formals.”
“Do you wish for anything?” he asked.
“How do you mean?”
“When we love something,” he explained, “or someone dearly, we wish for them or from them. What is it that you wish?”
“I wish for a house by the sea.” She answered almost immediately. “Far away from the city honks and horns; where the only sound is that of curtains dancing to the tunes of a strong breeze; where I can stroll on the beach after a delightful meal, not worrying about returning to unworldly demands; where I can walk bare feet, feel the sand grains between my fingers and the cold water kiss my feet; where there is wind, water and the sound of it for miles to come. I wish to be in that moment, once and again.”
She turned to him knowing she had spoken long and full of herself. He had been such kind and attentive listener. His eyes deeply absorbing everything she said, slowly turning her words into imaginative reality. He was such a dreamer. Somewhere in those eyes, he had seen and built the place she desired, for her.
“How is it?” she asked.
“It’s beautiful,” he answered.
“But something always seems to be missing.”
“What is it?”
“I wish I knew.”
The street light had taken over conquering the rocks by the sea and the moon was beginning to make its entrance.
“What do you wish?” she asked of him.
“To be in that moment with you,” he said.
And she knew how greatly she had wished to hear this from him.