“It’s summer of Delhi, filled with scorching heat, thirst and hunger. Humanity is lost as well. Gyan is lying on the footpath of Madhuban Park. He knows that if he can collect his entire energy and manage to walk to the Mandir, he will get water for free. May be some prasad to eat as well. But he is not. He is trying there since first ray of sun came out. May be life has come to an end. This is the end.
He can see the students sitting on bench and reading. Nobody notices him anymore. He has been sleeping on this footpath of Madhuban park for years now. Initially he had to pay for it, to the guard. But soon they became friends. He got a reserved place to sleep. Guard! Such a nice person and a friend. True friendship, loyalty, honesty, kindness and forgiveness seems to be assets of poor. Cruelty, rudeness, distrust, backstabbing, immorality and revenge seems to be jewels of rich. At least this is what he has seen in his life.
Gyan closed his eyes. Leela came, and sat beside him. She wiped his head with her sari. Oh Leela! My Leela! My beautiful Leela! She was weeping. Those beautiful eyes were full of tears! He hated those tears. Alas! he would rather wipe them than scold her, when she cried. Gyan never understood Leela. Or maybe, he never tried to understand.”
Rahul closed the novel. He doesn’t know why Geetika is so found of reading those old write ups or even the new ones. Who reads novels? Why they write it anyway? There is a lot more to do in life than novels. He bought the novel because this is the best gift he can give Geetika. Geetika!
Why couldn’t he dare to go against his parents? Geetika was the only thing he ever wanted from life. Oops! If he says this to Geetika. She will get angry. She will roll up her eyes. Eyes! He never told her, how beautiful she looks. What he likes more about her? Her eyes? Her Smile? No, He likes her abilities to hide pain! The pain which she never shares. The problems which she never chants about. He remembered the times when she would hide her face in his palms and cry. After crying she would laugh, laugh loud. He has seen her laughing in worst of the situations. He has seen her excellent mind and intelligence of the great politicians. She never forgives people. She doesn’t allow people to hurt her. This is what she hates, being deceived. Then why did she decide to leave him? He always asked her, what she will do to him if he deceives her. She always used to say that she would cut him into small pieces and will throw it to dogs. Alas! He has not been cut or thrown to dogs. She decided to sacrifice, to leave.
Yamuna Bank station: Darwaje bayee taraf khulenge. Yamuna Bank station: Doors will open on the left.
Rahul got down from the metro. Geetika was sitting on one of the blocks made to support the pillars. She was reading some novels and completely lost in that. He stood at back of the pillar and called her.
Geetika: Hello! Kahan ho.
Rahul: Hello, Hello, Hello, Hello…
Geetika: Arey pagal bolo to kahan ho?
Rahul: Hello, Hello, Hello, Hello….
Geetika turns: Awaz aa rahi hai tumhari hello hello pagal!
Rahul: Placed the novel in her hand.
Geetika: Wow! You still remember?
Rahul: I can never forget.
Geetika: Chalo itna senti dialogue marne ki zarurat nahi hai.
Rahul: Yaar tum sara mood kharab kar deti ho. (Rahul bend his lips outside)
Geetika hugs him. I love You! I will miss you!
Rahul: Door hato gandi aurat, meri izzat pe haath mat dalo.
Geetika laughed and hold his hand. She still remembers how he uses to refuse to hold hands in public. But tonight, he didn’t say anything. She looked at his face. She loves this fat kid. His tummy!
Geetika: (Putting her hand on Rahul’s tummy): Please take care of my baby Rahul! Don’t abort him, please! Take proper rest. Tell the baby mummy will be back soon.
Rahul: Bhag gandi.
Geetika: No, promise mommy, baby will be saved.
Rahul: Papa will eat healthy to save the baby, mommy. Don’t worry.
They both started laughing. Uncle standing beside them smiled at them and left.
Geetika: Where do you want to go tonight?
Rahul: Chai Thandha?
Geetika: Okay. But before that, I want to have egg roll.
They boarded the metro and got down at Nirman Vihar. The egg roll shop keeper recognized his daily customer and waived at them.
Geetika: One double egg roll.
Both stood at a distance till the egg roll was ready. Rahul is Brahmin. Pure Brahmin by practice. Pure vegetarian. They don’t even eat onion and garlic at home. But he never stopped Geetika from eating egg or whatever she likes to. Only when one day his friends caught him and Geetika at the egg roll stall and started scolding him; she got to know why he used to keep a clear distance from egg shops. Geetika looked at Rahul and he smiled. She knows this smile means he is sad. Deeply sad! But no one other than her, values his happiness. Not even his parents. She hoped that soon he will forget her and start a happy life.
Rahul: Kya hua aaj kachar kachar nahi karogi? (Handing over her egg roll)
Geetika: Kachar Kachar Kachar Kachar.
Rahul laughed, this time the flawless laugh.
Geetika has wrapped her ear and entire face in shawl. She had gloves in hand, sweater, jacket, shoes but she was still shivering at times. Her nose had turned red from cold. Ohh, she looked cute.
Geetika: Tumhe thandh kyun nahi lagti? I don’t know how you can survive this cold in half jacket.
Rahul: I will miss you.
Geetika: Please stop this emotional atyachaar. Waise what will you miss?
Rahul: Your red nose.
Geetika (punched him in stomach)
Rahul: Aww, see you are killing your own child.
They went to Chai Thandha. The owner waived at them. Geetika thought they were so used to going same places and ordering same things, that almost at no place they needed to tell the order. Even in self service restaurants, the owner brings their order in a tray. Black Current for Rahul and Tea for Geetika. In chilling cold of Delhi, Rahul wore half jacket and drank Black Current, a drink made of cold drink, ice and soda. Geetika knew that even in this cold, his hands will be hot like the tea she is having.
Geetika: I am going to see the world, the real world. Where will be no Rahul to protect me, to understand me, to laugh at my silly humor and to read my silence? Who will laugh and say ‘dekho chot to nahi lagi’, when I slap and who will cry for her when she won’t stop crying, that too in public!
Rahul: Don’t go. Please. I will convince them. We will go for court marriage.
Geetika: Ha ha ha. Nice joke. Now, drop me to my PG. It’s going to be 10 p.m.
Rahul stood and took her to the PG. She waived him bye and ask whether he will come tomorrow morning to see off her to station, even when she knows he will.
Rahul was as sad as she knew he will be. Geetika closed her eyes and reminded herself of Rahul’s ‘32 tooth flashed smile’.
Rahul never understood Geetika. Or maybe, he never tried to understand.