Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Introducing J, ladies and gentlemen

McLeod’s Ganj, Main Chowk

Cy and H are in the hotel room, snuggling under a rug in front of the telly. J and I are walking around the market place, taking in sights and smells of a fading day. The sky fogs up with the varnish of winter and slowly, the stars come out. At first, there’s a smattering of them, then a few thousand more, and finally, constellations lay crushed and strewn across this deep, dark canvas. If you took the heel of a stiletto, dipped it in molten silver and beat it all over a lush, black pashmina shawl – that would be the sky we walked under that night.

A friendly man with ruddy cheeks walks towards me and hands me a pamphlet. He smiles, tells me, “Aap apne friends ko bhi layiyega”, and walks on. My friend is admiring some fur-trimmed booties somewhere.

I walk up to J and show her the pamphlet.

I: There’s a party here, at Mc.LLo. We’ll go?

J: Of course not! We’ll have a nice cosy time amongst ourselves.

I: But I want to go! There will lots of people, and lots of noise, and lots of fun!

J: There will be people you don’t know, noise you don’t like…and besides, didn’t we come here to introspect?

I: Yeah well…I don’t have too many thoughts, as it turns out.

J: But don’t you want to be with us? (This wasn’t as heartfelt as it sounds. She was trying on a cap at the time and this was a fuzzy attempt to assuage.)

I: I am always with you people! Let’s go out and make new friends?

J: Are you crazy? It’ll be full of drunk, uncouth men who’ll just want to paw us and grope us!

I: No, it won’t be like that! Everyone’s here to have fun! They’ll have fun, we’ll have fun!...and oh! look! See, there’s a DJ! See, DJ Raakh! I want to see DJ Raakh!

J: Huh! Never mind DJ Raakh! Listen to me… we’ll take a walk, we’ll sit under the stars, we’ll have fun! Trust me!

In the mean time, I spotted this group of glorious young boys and girls, all swathed in cashmere and expensive brown boots. They walk up to McLLo. One of them has a pamphlet in his hands.

I make a final plea, “But J, all the happening people will be there!”

J, in a solemn sotto voice, “So? Ditch them! Mukta, we have already…happened.”


Open-sky café, off Temple Road

J and I are in a very charming little paratha place close to our hotel. The joint has a glass roof that is currently covered with brown canvas. There are three wooden tables and plastic chairs inside, along with a little counter where parathas and omlettes get cooked. On one side is a little electrical apparatus that where pots of tea get made.

It’s night already and J and I are out to get dinner for H and Cy.

There’s no electricity, and little lanterns are kept on tables to take care of the light. The whole place is swathed in this candle-calmness that one associates with peace and piety. From where we sit, we can see an entire valley lit up. It looks like a bower of little bursts of colored light.

We are eating our parathas and are waiting for a couple more to be parcelled.

Winter beauty and winter musings bring along with them this incredible, sweeping melancholy.

I look out and think about the last time I had visited this place with A. Now I don’t know what he’s doing, whether he has visited this place since. I think of that now.

I tell J that probably the most lingering sadness of failed love is knowing that you will never be missed anymore. I ask her if one can ever…and I mean ever… get over the primal want of being someone’s memory. Someone’s old age reminiscence. Someone’s midnight memory, or a stray remembrance that holds your heart and twists it on a Sunday afternoon in a park. I ask her if I will ever find anyone who will miss me the way true love misses. And how can one expect one’s heart to settle for anything less than this?

In this warm hallowed pristine glow of three lamps, in this little space above the valleys with the sound of simmering water, I asked J this.

And J, all the while looking down into her plate, said: burp.


My friend is very, very wise.


omnithere said...

...and loves you very much. :) know this dear M, on this day of the not so new moon, in the first month of the 9th year of the 2K series, you will never have the chance to experience that lingering sadness ... for this year, you will have a changed perception ... that a missing is a binding, a thread that holds you back and hence resulting in a stagnating and a rotting. i wish for you a loving, a loving that is freeing, and a smiling, a pushing, a little lifting, so you can touch the stars you stare at in awe and wonder ... :)

Mukta said...


The Idle Devil said...

You and J seem more sisters than friends :) sisters by soul

Mukta said...

he he he! :-) but see, she's the one who has all the fun, and then dissuades me from enjoying the good stuff! DJ Raakh, being a case in point.

Aries said...

:-). A guy with a name like Raakh surely isn't worth checking out. Your dinner scene seems much more worthwhile than jiving to some dubious music this Raakh character might have dished out.

That was a profound burp. Reminds me of the answer "42" to the question on life, the universe and everything in the hitchhiker series.

Mukta said...

hey aries,

yeah...i am trying to make my peace with that - not meeting DJ Raakh. sigh!

and as for the burp, sometimes I do suspect that J is definitely a hitchhiker from the beyond! such uncommon wisdom, wouldn't you say?

Arth said...

Dear Mukta,
Happiness is a journey, not a destination. You will have many gifts in it. Be happy and enjoy every moment that life has to offer. Trust me, expect the unexpected and you will be pleasantly surprised! Love u:)

Mukta said...

hey arth, thanks!

Arth said...

Tell me Mukta, I have been thro' your write- ups and find that you have a wonderful understanding of life and it's effects. What's your source of inspiration to this amazing art of writing you have? Love you a lil more now! Arth

suparna said...

for this one about being someone's memory, i am completely sold on http://xkcd.com/372/

anumita said...

yes... J is wise... for i would have said yes to everything and forced you to go with me and dance to the Raakh too!

xt@$y-13 said...


funny, wise yes, but funny!!