Thursday, December 22, 2005
All the world loves a lover....but then again....
Where I worked in Powai, we had a rather enchanting garden some distance from the office. It had a storyboard sculpt to it complete with dry leaves that scrunched when you tread on them, twigs, gravelly paths, boughs laden with perfumed flowers, and if you observed closely, shrubs with berries too.
The best part about this place was that not many people knew about it. A friend brought me here in the newness of June rain. While it rained everywhere else as well, you could imagine that perhaps a different set of clouds burst over this place. Rain was more silvery and cold and you could run through the pebbled paths recklessly. If you chose to be more delirious and wait for Snowhite to come up with some hot chocolate, well, it only meant that you’d caught a head cold and a dangerous case of a wonderland imagination. Both very likely.
One day, I wanted to show this place to a friend of mine. So we walked there and were stopped by a guard.
‘You can’t go in’, he told us.
‘Why?’ , I asked.
‘Only for residents.’
‘I’ve come here before and maybe I am a resident. How do you know I am not?’, I asked idiotically.
‘Sorry. I recognize residents.’
‘But I’m telling you I’ve come here before’, I was appalled at how unreasonable this guy was being.
I looked sullenly at my friend who was patient through this exchange. On our way back, I grumbled, ‘Why did he stop us? I’m telling you, I’ve here before with SK, Anumita, and A. I mean, why….’
‘He saw a boy and he saw a girl, Mukta. That’s all he saw.’
For a moment, I didn’t quite get what my pal meant by that. And when it did register, there was a burning sense of being wronged, of being deprived of a very innocent right because of what some guy vested with authority thought.
But, from what I read of Operation Majnu today, he could have called the police. We could have been slapped or hit on the stomach or abused filthily for promoting eve-teasing. Any of this could have happened while we were helpless and at the mercy of tyrants. So, I suppose we got off easy.
In my last week in Powai, I made a trip to the garden again. The guard was there. He looked behind me to see if I was accompanied by anyone. I wasn’t.
‘Will you let me go in today?,’ I asked him.
‘For residents only, madam. I had told you this earlier.’
‘But I had come here before with my friends.’
‘Fine madam. No foodstuffs but.’
I stared at him with an inexplicable repulse.
‘Okay, I’ll just come back with the friend who was with me the other day’, I told him and walked away.
Next time, I won’t.