Thursday, 22 May 2014

P for pearl, for one



There were 10 huge tables in the mess, each seating 10 girls at a time. But there were 300 girls in this red brick hostel built around a central lush-green quadrangle. Which meant, different years ate in batches. Junior most first and senior most last. In between, the second year bachelor’s students came to finish their meals. Sandwiched, neither here nor there. Between a bell announcing ‘your turn’ and one which said ‘your time is gone’. For food. For desire for food. For more.

She always lingered longer than she needed to, that girl from Year 2. The girl with spectacles. Bony thin and fair as snow, with tufts of hair falling in gay abandon over her forehead. Refusing to follow the convention of the rest of her head. Almost as if in collusion with her mind, to hide those eyes. Eyes which intentionally sat longer in the mess. Way beyond the second bell. Way beyond the seniors walking in. Me, walking in to take my place. To eat. To see her stare.

Every meal she could she would watch me.

Playing with her food making it last longer. By design. I could never tell for sure exactly when she was looking at me. You see, the spectacles never made me see her eyes. Such reflections from surrounding light they shone with. Sometimes, I saw a shade of light brown over them. Where eye met eye. Naked. Hers and mine. As if conversing. A strange feeling of discomfort shot to my head, full of ‘why’s. Some words her eyes quietly saying in my ears, but I failed to hear them across those tables. Did not understand. Did not want to, maybe?

You know how you and your companions find designated places to sit, when you have to sit in them for days at a stretch. Like in a big hall with 100 chairs, 6 thick pillars and windows on two sides. We had found ours. A pattern to follow and sit by. But she by free will. Me? Just following my crowd, my friends. Diagonally opposite from that same pillar, with a picture of a god on it, playfully looking at us as we ate across two tables. Looking down at us, that picture. Almost as if reprimanding her for the thoughts in her head. Enjoying the confusion in mine. And in this communication, intruding. That intrusive god. Without shame.    

And just like pearls fallen from a broken string on to the floor, however lost, do find ways to show that slightest of glint – no matter how dark the corner or how unnoticed - so did she. On movie nights in the common room sitting somewhere around me. Till I could see. Saw. Her looking, again. Not watching the movie but me. In the queue for hostel library books or sick room or tuck shop and such coincidences which seemed not chance. Always in the quietest of corners. Till I would almost make up my mind to go speak with her and ask her what is the meaning of this and why have you been staring at me and it makes me uncomfortable and what have I done to deserve this unease? Till I would almost make up my mind and stop at that ‘almost’, always. Never talking to her asking her. The mind never made up enough. And months would go by.

I never did share with another friend, my confusion about P’s secret gaze, on me. It seemed her heart would break. Making this public. And trivial. Almost guilt-ridden I would sit whenever I was at the precipice of spilling the beans to a friend. Seeking answers was only right, yes, but shaming her in some sense. So my own thoughts I calmed alone, floating like cumulus clouds when in the confines of my private space. What is this that never seems to abate and am I encouraging something through my ways my silence my stares, right back at those spectacles hidden in the hair, or those eyes? Never saying this aloud. As if this was something significant. Hah! As if it was! But, what if it was? To P?  

It remained unspoken. This story. I did not silence her presence, ever. It was she who spoke when it was time for my absence. A little card slipped under my room’s door, on my last night at this hostel of 300. It said ‘I will remember you’. Not more not less. Spoken at last. Signed. The full name there. Like in parting she found courage to write it down. And so I did find too, my share of courage. When I admitted to myself for the first time - I wish we had spoken.

Spoken to understand what all that meant. To her. For me. Why?

Today I sit thinking, this must have meant something to her. And knowing well it could never have meant the same to me.


[Written for WordPress Daily Prompts : 365 Writing Prompts. The prompt for today was - Unconventional Love - Over the weekend, we explored different ways to love. Today, tell us about the most unconventional love in your life. This is a true story. The narrator is me.]



86 comments:

  1. Nicely executed. It felt like I was there watching P and you. In the hostel of 300. Unconventional love indeed :)

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  2. It was so beautifully narrated...as Sid mentioned I could actually visualise it all :)

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  3. Have you ever thought of trying to reconnect ? Or do you want to leave it as abrupt and unexplained..Sometimes that has an appeal to it

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    1. It was left unexplained and abrupt for all the questions I make public in this post. I have never thought of reconnecting. This was 12 years back. It is true though, that if it is still on my mind, perhaps, it's an untied thread.

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  4. 'I will remember you' and' i wish we had spoken ' these two lines always make a cloudy film in our life and what we live with is 'guilt' .A beautiful post that anyone can feel it.

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    1. I don't live with 'guilt'. Maybe regret, but not guilt.
      Thanks for reading, Pravir.

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    2. Good to know that you don't live with guilt ,all should be like that but why regret ?Whenever you feel regret that means you are giving pain to both side.May be i am wrong!

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  5. Oh that was beautifully narrated.. and like Sid said.. I was there too.. watching you and P in that cafeteria ... watching those emotions and thoughts get exchanged....watching what unconventional love could mean..

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    1. Yes, I described only the hostel mess scene in details. It stands out among all others in my mind. I am glad you liked how this was written, Seeta. :)

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  6. An unspoken and strange connect, beautifully described. I like the strangeness. She made quite an impact for you to blog about it years later

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    1. Yes, she did. It was strange and sweet at the same time. I still don't know what to think about it. She was brilliant. Political Science. Must be doing great!

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  7. Unrequited love is sad indeed!

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    1. :) Well, this was 12 years back so I assume we have all moved on grown up. I certainly hope so. After all, she didn't ever speak with me even. On mental pictures alone can memory sustain?
      Thanks for reading, Roshni.

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  8. Life is filled with these unspoken encounters. How does one react? Go ahead and talk and achieve what? Or let it go and then wonder, why? Nicely penned.

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    1. Exactly the questions I wanted to bring out through the post.
      Glad you liked it, Rachna.

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  9. wow!!! .. I just saw everything like sitting there or standing beside the door as she slipped the note..
    beautifully penned ..

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  10. Unconventional and unrequited. But love it is indeed. Loved the way you told the story.

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  11. This was a strange little anecdote from life...that pushed me into another tangent. Have you seen the movie Lost in translation? How the two character come together and spend brief moments together...feel connected...only to move on with their life. Such brief spells of connection are so beautiful :)

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    1. Ah! Richard Gere? In Japan, or something? I think I have and I remember the last scene. The taxi -to-the-airport one. While she walks in a fair.
      Thanks for reading, S!

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  12. Wow! Unusual love, indeed. Interesting how she never came up to you and still left such a deep impact. :)

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    1. Maybe because she never came up to me to talk left this impact. I don't know. I never thought about it until I saw this prompt and remembered her.

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  13. Well penned. I have been schooled in a convent, and I have similar "unconventional love" stories in my basket as well. It could be admiration, adoration, and innocent love.

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    1. It could be anything of those, or a mix of some of those. I have no idea, really. I wish I did though. :)
      Thanks, Arpita, for liking this piece.

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  14. After reading this, I am reminded of that line from Gulzar's song - "Humne dekhi hai unn aankhon ki mehkti khushboo, pyar ko pyar hi rehne do koi naam na do". Know that one? :)

    A richly described story of nameless love...very well done, Sakshi!

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    1. Yes, I know that one, Beloo! :)
      Thanks so much for the appreciation! :)

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  15. Sakshi what a narration...what description...felt so beautiful. All of it. Your feelings of unease her stares everything...you've written it so well. And yeah maybe I have had secret admirations too for people only thing I never did what P did. Maybe I should've done that. How difficult is it I wonder to walk up to someone and say I like you so much. I mean we make so many other negative feelings so obvious so easily but why is it so difficult with positive feelings...I wonder...

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    1. I like what you say, Shivani. That we make so many negatives feelings so obvious so easily but bother not to show love, that easily that freely. It is true, indeed!
      Many thanks for reading and liking this. :)

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  16. Ah! An apt post for the prompt -Unconventional love. It feels almost like that's all she wanted rather than the step forward to connect with you. Just being there and watching you.

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    1. I did think of what you say, Keirthana. This is perhaps all that she wanted. :)

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  17. Unconventional love indeed, am sure it all came back to you as you were penning down this particular post, didn't it, and the level of detailing in the post and the narrative shows it :)

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    1. It did. :)
      But I felt very nice writing this, Jai.
      Thanks for reading.

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  18. Another 'honest' story coming from Sakshi Nanda. Guess, the heart is complex and you captured the right emotions. You are right, perhaps both could have spoken about it and sometimes, its better not to speak at all. Such things can happen and may be, a passion crush on her part and may be, she is laughing bout it as she remembers. Kudos, for being honest and it demands guts that you have, feisty lady. Enjoyed reading the compelling narrative.

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  19. Hi, very interesting!! I loved the script as well as the style of narration :) +1 for that. It happens that most of time when we take a lot of time to start a conversation, at the end we realise that we have missed that TIME. What was that obstructing the conversation?

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    1. You are right, Swati. But I do think time must have let this pass for P. And now for me, for in penning this I feel quite happy. :)
      Thanks for reading!

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  20. Hi Sakshi, I read this post of yours not once, twice or thrice but at least ten times. And truly speaking, tears were just flowing from my eyes! This mute 'conversation' tells a lot. I was imagining what were the thoughts that both of you were sharing. Very beautifully penned.

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    1. Usha ma'am, thank you so much. I did not imagine these few words carried the power of bringing someone to tears. Perhaps, it is not this story but similar memories in your mind which did. :)
      You made my day. :)

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  21. So beautifully told! I could see the dining hall. And I can empathise with both of you....

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  22. That was a fantastic read... and the way you understood how she was looking at you through the spectacle by noticing the shades and light on it was absolutely mind blowing....

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    1. Thank you very very much, Kimat. :)

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  23. Beautifully written Sakshi, I love the narrative and the style, very engaging.

    It's such a nice story to reflect, and to think what might have actually happened, how it would have been different and what it would have meant to them or us. And I really don't know what to call her, an admirer, a friend.... Well no matter what I guess they are a part of a beautiful story and that's a delight to see.

    Cheers,
    V+

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    1. Good to see you here, Vinchesso. Many thanks for reading me. :)

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  24. Very beautiful! I could relate more because I guess I have behaved in the same manner as P. Sometimes you have a certain person in your life that you look up to for no specific reason or may be for some specific reason. But you never gather the courage to let that person know of it. I was a step behind P because I still haven't told that person why I used to stare. Some words are better left unspoken. But yes I never thought it could have been uncomfortable to the other person. Loved this take on unconventional love.

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    1. I think that 'look up to for no specific reason' makes a lot of sense. P never told me either, Reks. Just a bye-bye card. We never spoke. I think I agree with you that some words are better left unspoken for everyone's sake.
      Very happy you liked this post and could relate to it. :)

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  25. Deep and sharp... a new take on infatuation

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  26. Are you sure it wasn't simply your bad haircut responsible for her behaviour? You never know, sometimes the answer is the simplest one of the possibilities.

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    1. No. I had thick, long hair back then. :) She did have a very sexy one, though. Something like what I have now. :)
      You and your possibilities theories.

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  27. You write so beautifully. Similar thing happened to me, but it was a guy. For 4 long years. And I knew what it meant for him. It wasn't the same for me...

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    1. :) How we connect with similar stories. Thanks for reading, Nisha. :)

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  28. wow.. what i admired is how you can recall all after so long.. I somehow seem to have forgotten many things that we got up to in the good old days ..

    I am trying my level best to recall is I made such an inpact on the opposite gender during the days .. who know :) he hehe

    :) made me smile ..

    Bikram

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    1. It wasn't THAT long back you know, B. :D
      I am sure you made an impact on whoever you wanted to. And whoever you did not. :D
      Thanks a lot for reading.

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    2. well well for the likes of me it is THAT long..

      see now that is a problem wish i had known then if i made a impact on Non-impact ... no use now .. for that also it is THAT long :)

      Bikram

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  29. Hi Sakshi....You have really mastered over penning deep-rooted thoughts....Very decently expressed.. great going..!!!

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  30. I loved the imagery, the taut narrative, the unspoken words, the confusion...Just beautiful.

    I hope 'P' is not me ;O

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    1. Thank you. That was good to hear.
      This P is not you, but there could be an S in your life if I stay around you too much. :D
      Thanks for reading!

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  31. Nicely written... lovely post.... :)

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  32. Well written Sakshi. But, I seriously wonder why havent you thought of reconnecting ??

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    1. I can't. I have no idea where she is. I also don't see why I should.
      Thanks a lot for reading, Jyotsna.

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  33. amazing post...enjoyed reading it..Please join my blog- the pink dewdrops
    http://9shonalimukherji9.blogspot.in/

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  34. A breathtakingly beautiful writeup,kudos to u :)

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    1. Thank you, Sahiti.
      You have a lovely name. :)

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  35. This post has been selected for the Tangy Tuesday Picks this week. Thank You for an amazing post! Cheers! Keep Blogging :)

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  36. Life is made up of such weird incidents isn't it? Loved the narrative! Good job :)

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  37. P for Poignant, for me. So beautifully written. Like silence woven into silk...

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  38. Must have been a surreal experience ! I would have perhaps walked up to her and asked. But then may be not .. something are best left unspoken !

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    1. *somethings (typo!)

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    2. Indeed, Ruch.
      Thanks a lot for reading!

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  39. Strange na ! I had a similar experience but not like a live one. I used to get letters when I was in my intermediate (plus 1 plus 2 ) . The letters were typed so that I don't identify him/ her. I guess this needs a blog post :) I got them thrice then they stopped suddnly. strange that I never really got time to track the sender :(
    I wish she came and spoke to u atleast a word . Anyway nice revival of memory

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    1. It does need a blog post, Afshan. Please let me know when you publish it. I did not even nother tracking P. I guess Life takes over soon enough for all of us.
      Thanks a lot for reading! :)

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  40. Ah, I hope P reads this ! She'll remember you and whatever it was ,that made her behave the way she did, all those years back. Probably she might even come and speak it out to you, now that time has created a comfortable space between you two.
    Or, as you said, some things are better left unspoken , right ?

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    1. Right. :)
      Love the 'time has created a comfortable space between you two'.
      Thank you for reading, Sreeja.

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  41. how can i get the book in saudi arab ??

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