Of, relating to, occurring in, or appropriate to winter - Lila
When I look at Lila now, I wonder how I had ever fallen in love with her then. She is talking about things which I don’t want to hear now. She is telling jokes and laughing and I am responding by smiling my arrogant smile – only to let her imagine that I am with her in the conversation. Perhaps she knows that I am not listening and she doesn’t care either – she never cared anyway. I don’t even know why I came here when she called me. Despite all that had happened between us, I have come. Her face has not lost her radiance; she is still as attractive as she had been. But, it’s lost. The feeling just isn’t there. I actually feel strange at the thought of my sitting and talking to her. But, that’s what I am doing. I feel disgusted at myself and the fact that circumstances have led to this. I really don’t know how to describe it. I have thought about it for about six years now – the thought of how it happened almost made me crazy.
After those two months, I always loved her only in her absence! Or, perhaps I only loved those two months – the time, the place, the atmosphere, her. But I loved those two months after those two months…Her sweet smell used to drive me mad. The soft, freezing nights, fog fragrant with blooming jasmine - enchanting and still vivid in my memory - Our first train and jeep ride; the mellifluence of her voice; our walks together in beautiful moonlit nights –
when we discussed dreams, philosophy and coffee! Her special treats only for me; her relief when I came alone to meet her without my friends; chocolates for attending her concert; her calling my name aloud in her shrill voice; our emails which determined when we would meet next and where – despite the fact that we met at the same place everyday and at the same time! Her songs sung only for me and the stars in the romantic quiet of the temple garden; her standing close when I was sitting on the parapet; the warmth of her touch – her hands on my knees; her reading my fledgling writings; her prophecy of my writing, my dreams of her – real and fabricated, her piety and my atheism, our only photo that I lost, my dreams, my dreams, my dreams…
Those two months I didn’t realize what was happening. I was in a trance. Everything had changed. My only pastime was to wait for her evening calls. My only thoughts were the cumulative memories of our togetherness of the previous days. Each day only added more memories. I was dormant, I did nothing – she came and there was magic… everything happened effortlessly – like an intoxicating fog coming from heaven, enveloping my helplessness.
And then, it snapped. The fog lifted. The sun blazed the plains but froze the memories - neatly casketing and locking them up. There was nothing more to be filled and yet there was enough for a lifetime of agonizing recalls. All of a sudden, there was a callous wall between us. We met, but not the same way. We talked of the same things and yet, the feeling wasn’t the same. It was as if the curtain had been suddenly raised and the chilling suspense and sweet anxiety evaporated leaving an annoying vacuum. It was maddening. I just couldn’t figure out what had happened. And my confusion led to bizarre behavior. I acted stupid – behaving like a spoilt child, nagging her sometimes indirectly and often, directly. That furthered the rift.
Life moved fast. It took us to different places, led us to different circumstances. Our paths didn’t meet of its own like the earlier magic. And when forcibly intersected, it only brought to the fore the saddening absence of harmony. All the while, I kept thinking about what had happened. How? Why? What did I do? What did I not do? Each time I met her, I went with an expectation. Outwardly I put on an angry, stoic front; deep inside I wanted those two months back. They never came. I never discussed it with her. It had to happen by magic like in those two months. My conscious efforts in the past had only ruined it further. I tried for two years and then I was sapped out. Hope has a limit.
Love only touches for a moment. And then, nothing lasts – neither love, nor the moment; only memories of the moment – tender and haunting memories.
Once in a while, we meet like today. I don’t like these meetings. Yet, the ghost of hope lurks within, gnaws inside and brings me to her. The safely hidden casket in my heart opens. Those two months flash through my mind along with the absurdity and nausea that followed. I try to keep the latter away from my precious casket. That’s my secret treasure that nobody can comprehend or see – not even Lila. And yet, even while I write this, I am hoping that she sees this and…
Hope never dies. Fortunately, love does! Does it?