Friday, August 26, 2011

A night to remember

As the sun set and the cool breeze started blowing, we decided to walk back home crossing the bridge over Sabarmati. I looked sideways to see Sudha smiling and talking animatedly, yet never looking at me.

'So have you ever tried the filter coffee at Sridarshini?'
Karan laughed out loud and said, 'That's not exactly fair, am just a day old here and all I have see so far is you, though still not enough of you!'
Sudha pondered for a while and said, 'You men, all are just the same!'
She complained, though her cheeks flushed and she fumbled with words.

We all went silent after this, I tried to pretend that I was busy looking down at feet, while they got busy looking at their hands and nowhere in particular. I knew this moment would pass and we would get back to our composed self soon. Somehow it was always left to me to make a humorous remark and break the sudden conversation barrier, but this time I decided to let it linger on for a while more. I wanted her to feel my pain, or whatever unusual emotions I was going through for the past two days.

We walked in silence for the rest of the journey. Maybe Karan already felt guilty about what was going on, and was happy to be away from conversations, or perhaps he was just happy and content with the breeze, but he remained silent. I knew we were finally reaching a point where we needed to talk, and have a conversation where I was also involved. Karan was leaving in the morning and I could feel an odd tension building up between the three of us.

I broke the silence and asked them if they wanted coffee, they both nodded. We were already in the new part of the town and so decided to go to the nearest posh new coffee place, sit in the open and enjoy the weather. The rains in the evening had ensured that the air was cool and extremely pleasant. Karan lit a cigarette and after a couple of drags, offered it to me. As I took my first puff, he started talking. I could see he was waiting for the moment, but somehow I panicked. I was not yet prepared for what I knew was coming, and when the words did start flowing, my world vanished.

I walked back home alone that night with the promise that my world would be returned back to me tomorrow. I wasn't sure anymore; Karan was my best friend and Sudha my wife, yet these promises somehow meant so little now.

Thanks to Vikram Tej for the superb illustration, read and know more about him here and here.
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