I was that girl who would hoard books and read them and sit at home. I barely walked out to the dusty Bombay air. I loved closed rooms and the four walls staring at me while I turn pages and pages. But I had to go out today.
I had to buy some things for home. Home—where my heart is. Home— which opens to the sea. Home—- beside Marine Drive as how I wanted it to be. Home— where he’ll come and where I’ll make him his favourite Sharkara Pradamana(Jaggery Kheer). Home—- where I’ll get to love him again before he leaves for another six months.
I reach the market near me. I look for the things I need to make the pradamana. I walk and walk when I feel as if someone is staring at me. My eyeballs make this right-and-left movement and I look back. No one.
I continue walking until I find all of the goods. I leave for home. Home— where he is waiting for me. I walk by the Marine and the wind that accompanies the waves lovingly splash on my face as if the sea is holding my face on its soft palms. I feel the breeze but in my heart I feel it again. The feeling of someone staring at me. This time I directly look back and I see him.
I see Krishna. Krishna, my childhood friend. Krishna, whom I left because he made me feel uncomfortable. Krishna, who was dark(thus the name) and beautiful but was not loved by Niyati, not loved by me.
He pauses and stands there as if he has done something wrong. His face is a field of worries. He doesn’t move. The wind seeps through his silky smooth hair and his white t-shirt showing his bare abs. I am surprised to see him here. I walk towards him. Speeding up my pace. His worries grow. I give him my wide smile and he smiles back. Just to reciprocate. Just a little awkwardly. But it is beautiful. He is beautiful. And I left him. Because I was uncomfortable. Because he loved me when we were young.
“You? Here? How?” I blurt out without realising I sounded dumb.
He looks at me for a while and suddenly he blinks and says, “Oh! I..I was just wandering here. To know Bombay. To get a little familiar you know? With the place and roads.”
“Oh! So you work here now?”
“Ye…yeah” He says with little assurance.
“Oh okay! Nice to meet you by the way. So? Will see you again! I’m a bit in hurry. Goodbye.” I run towards home to meet my love.
And Krishna? Krishna curses under his breath for not spilling his heart out. Krishna just stands there thinking that goodbyes are told when they’ll be meeting again. He breathes out relief.
I reach home. I directly step into the kitchen and make this sweet dish for my love. He will be here by 5 and I have one more hour. I work for an hour and I am done with the work. I wait. I wait for him to come home. Home— where love blooms in those corners.
Neel comes home. He embraces me into a tight and oh-i-missed-you-so-much hug. I breathe in his cologne. I kiss his chest. He kisses my cheeks and looks me in the eye and quotes Kabir from Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani — “Tum pehle bhi itni khoobsurat thi ya wakt je kiya koi haseen sitam?”
I blush and withdraw. He pulls me in and I am trapped in his loving strong arms. I withdraw again and walk towards the kitchen.
“You know what I’ve made for you?” I say picking up a bowl of sharkara pradamana and pacing towards him. He says that he doesn’t and I show him the bowl and he takes it. He gulps down one spoon and kisses me on my dry lips.
Later that evening, we sit together, facing the wild sea and whisper each other stories.
Everything is beautiful when he is around. His breath shuffles my hair like how the wind accompanied by the sea does. He makes me feel warm. His hands around my waist makes me feel secure. His smile, it is the monsoon to my scorched land. He’ll be here till tomorrow evening. And then he’ll be gone. He’ll take my breath away with him.
We wake up to the call of his alarm. He says that he has a meeting to attend. I bid him goodbye and leave for a walk by the Marine.
Amidst the sea, the wind, the droplets dancing out of the waves, I saw him. Again.
He was staring at the sea as if he wanted to dive into it and lose his breath. He was pondering. And he looked beautiful doing it.
I walked towards the boy who was looking down the waves. I placed my hand over his shoulder. He jerked. And looked behind with sudden confusion. When his eyes witnessed me, he smiled. This time with assurance. With a pinch of doing the thing he didn’t do last time.
“Hello! It’s good that you came. I had to tell you something Niyati. For all this time.” He looked serious and excited. Not like the day we met.
“But what Krishna?” I say with a little uncertainty. He looks me in the eye. His palm suddenly on mine. And he says, “I have loved you since then. The day when we played together in Kuttanad. You were always this flower I wanted to caress and keep. But you never wanted me. Maybe because of my darkness. Maybe because, I wasn’t loveable in your world. But I loves you Niyati. I still do.” And then he blurted out all of the things he loved about me. From my thick black long hair, to my big brown eyes, to my smooth brown skin, to my pink lotus-shaped lips, to my smile and the way I ran on his grandparents’ courtyard.
His palms didn’t move. They remained over mine. Warmth evaded. His eyes were teary. He wanted me. He was dying to be mine. But mine was out. He was attending the meeting. my love didn’t know that someone loved me as he did. That someone just held me.
That I brought someone to our home. Home— where I bring someone who loves me.
Home—- Where he holds my waist like Neel did and dances with me. Home—- where he interlaces his five fingers on mine and looks me in the eyes. Home—— where his broken heart heals with my comfort. Home— where in every corner he pulls me closer to feel me just to lose me tomorrow. Home—- where his fingers dig into my thick untamed hair and his lips wander over my neck.
Home— where betrayal rules today and justice watches Krishna love me.
Home—- where I sleep with him so that he leaves forever tomorrow.
Home—- where Krishna will last see me.
Home—- where I will last see him.
Home- where I promise to never confess this little secret to Neel.
Home—- where I hide my lost feelings covered with guilt.
Krishna leaves that day. He leaves for good. I give him the love he wanted. I didn’t do it out of pity. I did it to give that part of me that loved him. I let Krishna go with that part of me.
I was somebody else’s for life.
I was somebody’s breath, heartbeat, flare in his eyes. I was his only. I was his. I was Neel’s. I might live with this guilt till I die but I will never hurt Neel. Neel, the one who remains my home. Neel, the palms of the sea that holds my face and kisses me.
Neel, my only.
“The lover who is guiltily loved is cursed and the lover who is lovingly loved is blessed.”-G