Friday, June 17, 2011

The guy in yellow T-shirt

Romance at a short notice was her specialty
Wrote H.H.Munro(Saki) about a character called Vera in 'The Open Window'. Here the word 'romance' means creative imagination to have fun. And that's exactly what the word means in my dictionary. Although, I've never implemented romance in the way Vera did. Must try it sometime. :D
( If the grin smiley is lost on you, please do read 'The Open Window')
This is a small incident that happened recently:
My mother and I went to our native place a couple of weeks back. Now, contrary to the popular belief of my friends, this place is NOT Calcutta. It is a small town some 150 odd kilometers away from Calcutta, called Midnapore. That's where my parents grew up before they went out in search of greener pastures and that's where I was born.
The plane landed in Calcutta around noon. My Uncle had come to pick us up and we were to travel by cab all the way to Midnapore. After years and years of visiting the 'Red' Bengal, this was our first visit to the 'Green' Bengal. And thus we drove away through the hustle and bustle of Kolkata, cut across the packed streets of Howrah to a peaceful stretch of road, embellished with banana and coconut trees on both the sides. I opened the car window and got a full blast of the wind on my face. Once you are subjected to gusts of whooshing air no other sound seems to exist except for the sibilant sounds of the the wind. The animated chat that my mother and uncle were having got lost somewhere in those air currents. And once I started drinking in the beauty of the surrounding nature everything and everyone became a nondescript background. I don't know for how long I sat in that state of trance,staring out of the window.
And then a distraction arrived in the shape of a guy in yellow T-shirt.
Suddenly something hit my eye. I could see a bright yellow spot far away. It got bigger and bigger, until it reached the size of a full fledged human male riding a bike. Oh yes, you already know about the bright yellow T-shirt right? A few seconds later he drew level with our car. Our eyes met for a fraction of a second, which was enough for our car to accelerate ahead of him. No sign of him for about ten minutes, after which the yellow dot became visible again. This time he overtook us and for the briefest moment when our eyes met again he gave me a 'how about that,eh!' look. Soon enough a kind of race began between me and him. That's right, Me. Not the driver. Even though we never looked at each other for more than a few seconds, let alone talking, I could actually hear what he non-verbally said every time he beat me.'Gotcha!','Take that!', 'Catch me if you can'. And I replied (non-verbally of course) with 'Dream on!','Ha ha ha','let's see if you can beat that'. It was as if I woke up from a deep slumber and every cell of my body was brimming over with childlike playfulness.
I overtook him again with 'Tch tch' and kept an eye on the road excitedly to see that yellow dot again. I hardly saw where the car was going, since I was facing the other side. By chance, I saw where we were heading and my face fell. We were nearing a fork in the road where one path led to Midnapore and another to Kharagpur. "Shit! If he doesn't hurry up he wouldn't know which road I took. What if he's going to Kharagpur?" said a little voiced in my head. And then I reflected. Where can he be possibly going? Hmm..well he was definitely nifty in appearance.A teasingly smug expression on the proud face. A carelessly handsome and intelligent face. Lee Cooper T-Shirt. Nice watch.Awesome bike. Dammit! He's going to Kharagpur. Definitely one of those IIT Kgp studs. Small towns such as Midnapore don't have such guys.Great. Game Over. I win. He'll never be able to overtake me now. But I wasn't happy. If anything, I was sulky and irritated. Dumb snail, why couldn't he drive faster :X

 And then the inevitable happened. We took the road that we were supposed to take, and my sulkiness grew. The worst part was that I couldn't even go back to that lovely trance. Somehow my ability to get engrossed in nature took a backseat. Somehow the whole purpose was lost. Somehow a tiny part of me had hoped that he'd catch up before we enter the bifurcation. But he didn't. And here we raced ahead towards my Didun's place, where I was going after three long years. I'd finally meet my flesh and blood after months of planning and packing. I'd finally eat my favorite chicken pakodas that I get nowhere in Ahmedabad. I tried to cheer myself up about these things. But then something happened that took my cheerfulness several notches up. I saw a dot. A bright yellow dot. A very familiar bright yellow dot. I was overwhelmed with a strange elation.  He finally overtook me, took a left, turned around and smiled mischievously as if saying "Who's your daddy?" :D. I was trying hard to stifle a big grin and managed half a smile. What I said non-verbally? That I leave to your romance :)

It is so wonderfully weird how sometimes we connect to utter strangers far better than people around us. This incident made me feel so much more alive and happy. I will always cherish that non-verbal banter with the guy in Yellow T-Shirt :)


Anonymous said...

thr's this sultry kind of charm in this smhow evokes sm feeling which is lost n long forgotten...

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