Tuesday, August 08, 2006

One for the road...Rebecca Night

There is a road in Koregaon Park that is not listed on tourist maps. Yet, it is a place a traveler would be besotted with. It is innocuous like a village path with simple, bucolic scenes. I call it a ‘road’ simply because it takes long to get home when I trundle on it. Actually, it is a lane that started small and never grew up. A Peter Pan strip.

Like a favorite jaunt, this road is many things to many people. It is cheery to kids who bubble out of little huts to play with rubber tyres and sticks. It is a chic soignée to polished cars that glide through wrought-iron gates with bottles of Dom Perignons stashed in the backseat. It is frothy to gangly teenagers who laugh over nothing in particular and share a smoke at the crossroads. It is vibrant to runners who sprint across it in the wet, morning mist. It is rugged to construction workers who sip chai amidst bricks and mortar and befriend stray dogs. It is languid and treacly for lazy weekenders who amble along peering into bushes or gazing at goats scampering about. It is salubrious for jaded office-goers who sometimes see prickly boughs of trees under pouffy clouds and promise to vacation in snowflakes and pines.

The remarkable aspect of this road is the way it transforms itself at night. It wipes away traces of diurnal dreams and cloaks itself with the night sky and its attendant mysteries. When you walk here at night, you usually walk alone. Your eyes get accustomed to the jagged gleam of sharp stones. You know to instinctively duck when you see bats around or step around uneven ridges of potholes. You get out of the way when the stray cyclist whizzes past. You dodge strange looking insects that crawl out of rocks. You smirk while the odd frog hops about.

Some days, you may stand outside a building and watch a party in swing. Mellow caramel light would flood out of cane slats and glasses would clink to cocktail conversations. There would be a moody switch of radio stations or CDs. Sometimes you’d see the host, or the scarlet belt of one of his guests. Sometimes, you’d see the slats pulled up. And you’d see a lot more.

The light is brighter, the conversations more noisy.

A man shifts from one person to another – putting ice in someone’s glass, sharing a quiet joke with another, humming a few bars to a third guest. Then another guest, in pretty lace, would probably ask for a refill. You’d see the banter between the two and wonder if they have been to the South of France. It is easy to imagine that they have. Her wrists look like they have swirled a long stem of a wine glass in a yacht. He looks like he may have jogged along the shores of St. Tropez.

Then suddenly, in the distance, you hear honking. Light from a car would move under trees in one fluid movement and the car is gone.

You look back at the window and the slats are down again.

Now, you must be on your way.

The night is cool and aloof. Silhouettes seem rounded and hazy, dream-like almost. Then you pass a hollow part of the lane that is subtle, eerie, haunting, wistful – like the novel ‘Rebecca’ where you know a person’s story, but not her name.

You turn and watch the little fleck of golden dapple in the distance. The dream in the night where the party is happening – crafted, elegant, unreal, the beginning of something incomplete – like the opening line of ‘Rebecca’: Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderley again.’


Blythe Spyryt said...

Perfection! :)

Twisted DNA said...

"beginning of something incomplete"
Nice line. Well written post.

I didn't read Rebecca. Sounds like it's something I should read

Mukta said...

hello blythe,

thank you! By the way, weren't you supposed to visit Pune sometime back? Did you? Did you come around Koregaon?

Hello twisted,

Yes...lovely book. In fact, Jaygee had loaned me that one.

Dadoji said...

Rebecca is quite vivid and haunting in style. I read it only once and many years ago but I still carry the impression.

By the way, Mukta, check this out.

MellowDrama said...

I love Rebecca...lost track of the number of times I have read it. Do you know the sad protagonist is never once named? I loved the movie (the b&W) as well and I had a maid who was Mrs. Danvers incarnate :) I swear, she had a thing for the previous Mrs. Thoopal (senior).

Blythe Spyryt said...

No :( cancelled my plans on a/c of rains. Sometime soon maybe :)

Nagesh Pai said...

Beautiful! Glad to take the walk on your 'road' .. was almost there at your home :-)

Varsha said...


and rebecca is just awesome...my favorite novel...glad you reminded me...must read it again....

Ashish Shakya said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ashish Shakya said...

Am commenting after quite a while...

So when can i expect to see your book on stands?

You ARE writing one, aren't you?

*puts on look of innocent expectation*

3:55 PM

Mukta said...

Hey Dadoji,

Yep...checked out the link and thank you! so sorry I couldn't make it.

hello mellow,
hee hee! a corny corny love song that sounds like! Yep...I know that bit about the protagonist. Thats the whole bizarre genius of the book, na? I loved that! I trust things are better now with the domestic help?

hey blythe,

now its not so bad in pune. You could come now..


MAN! WHERE ARE YOU! Sheesh! Write!

Hi Varsha,

:-) By the way, have you read anything else by the author? I haven't.

Ah Phoenix!
How are you? Where are you? From where have you risen again? :-D

I am STILL looking for a story. :-)

aphros said...

Came to the post 'cos of Rebecca on the title... :)

Nice post... lovely strokes painting a vivid picture... even smirked seeing the frogs hopping by... :)

hmm... made me wanna take a walk on the 'Peter Pan strip' :)