Words on the wall

I’ve known Laks for almost ten years now. She has remained pretty much the same, unconventional being a very heavily toned down word for her nature. She was to be in the Cafe about an hour ago but quite like her, she was late. This gave me that additional time I needed to think and organize my thoughts before her confused, scantily clad and flirtatious soul glided into the Cafe, catching all eyes and some comments as well.

I still vividly remember the first time I met her: Online. Net was a new concept then and I was thrilled by how it provided a glimpse of the world sitting at home, how it could connect me to those supposedly terrific looking women across the world, how it could enable me to see women, clad, semi-clad and sometimes, even worse……it was like being in a fairy tale where everything was how I wanted it to be.

And in the middle of it all, I met Laks aka Lakshmi. She was frank with her words and that enchanted me. Whatever was taboo to me was the norm for her. Her free-spirited nature made me go to my computer every night like a honey-bee to its comb. We met every night and she showed me a world I knew I’d never live in. She was a road guide and the road was with dangerous turns……..but she helped me release myself a lot. And slowly, we stopped talking non-veg over chat. She was a philosopher in her own right. She had weird ideas about everything, quite opposite to mine, mostly.

But despite these differences, we becamse good friends. With time, I started finding her a constant enigma. I could never guess what her take would be on anything. And when she announced one fine day that she was moving to our city, I was ecstatic!!!! This was like a dream come true…….my discussion partner, a fellow philosopher………..I was finally going to MEET her……

SHOCK is a mild way of expressing how I felt when I met her………

She was a far cry from what her name conjured up an image of. Bold (to the limits of being aggressive at times) , beautiful (I guess, genes as her mother is rather good looking), well-educated (both parents are scientists, so she had to inherit the brains from them) and free spirited……she was the one who scared men away. She was the one who fought with guys at the drop of a hat, shrugged the frilly, pink clad women away. She had a way with guys and guys would drop at her feet! But she used to kick them away mercilessly…….”I get bored of guys very easily”…..she used to say everytime an AFFAIR came to an end, which was rather often for my comfort.

My middle class upbringing had ingrained the values of “and they lived happily ever after” in me. I was free spirited in my own way! But I was largely tied to my roots too deep. My mother had given up a job to take care of me day in day out……she wanted me to grow up well attended to. Governess was an abhorrent idea to her…..but Laks, she changed governesses at the rate of her dresses! She had been a spoilt difficult child. With her invalid grandmother, she had no one to take care of her really. So, I know that Laks grew up on her own, never knowing the deep bonds of family……..money was in abundance, so she knew nothing of poverty……

We did Engineering together, she in Computers and me in Civil Engineering. We hardly met during College times as she was always busy with this or that. She was an ardent writer and used to write like a magician, at least, I think so. Her words had the depth that one couldn’t see in the first glance……

I was rudely pulled back to the present by loud noises followed by a sharp clang of metal against metal. There I could see Laks on the Cafe door loudly quarreling with some guy who looked scared enough to the point of being pale. I could catch glimpses of the argument….

“How dare you………….mistake? Look at my dress………..useless waiters………..no manners……”

I knew there was no use trying to calm her down so I let her argue. After about fifteen minutes when I was convinced that Laks had had her fill of squabbling, she came to sit with me. The way she moved between the tables made the men eye her greedily and women, jealously (some even angry at her exposing outfit). Even for Bangkok standards, she was underdressed. I had tried talking to her about giving up this habit of dressing up as if she was off to a strippers’ club but she would quiet me by saying, “You’re too old-fashioned Aditya”……..this was one argument I couldn’t counter. Maybe, I was old fashioned…….

She sat down with her huge and colourful bag comfortably propped across her shoulder with a strap that proclaimed, “Rebels don’t love”…….

“You ordered something for me?”, she asked as if I had a choice.

“Ya, the usual. Espresso with chocolate sauce and honey raisin cookies”

“Oh great. I’m famished”

“So? What’s new? You still serious about last night’s revelation?”

“Of course, I am. What do you mean by SERIOUS”, she rolled her eyes to make her face look irritated.

“I mean, I thought you were not the settling kind. So, what about all those hundred affairs?”

“Hundred? Excuse me, One One Five to be precise! They were all not worth it. I got sick of them all. Rohan is different. He’s exciting. He doesn’t object to me being the way I am and you know what?”, she leaned closer as if to tell me a secreat and then whispered,”He’s great in bed”…..

“Hmmm…… Is that all? What about love?”

“Of course, I love him. Just that I used to find marriage so worthless”

“Well, you’re confusing between wedding and marriage. Wedding is the ceremony, whereas Marriage is a bonding of two people……..”, I couldn’t finish my sentence…..

“Oh please, not another senti lesson!!!”, she rolled her eyes again.

“Look Laks, I’m here to look at YOUR perspective of this SUDDEN announcement of your marriage to Rohan, someone you’ve known for less than an year and are willing to live with forever”

“FOREVER? When did I say forever?”

“Hmm. So divorce is likely”

“I didn’t say THAT either. See, it’s like this. I know that both of us are great together. But I’m not sure that we’ll be a great couple. I can’t stand families. My family never interefered in my life. I wonder if they even knew I was sleeping with every reasonable looking hunk back in College”, she winked.

“Hmmm. So, you think you can live with Rohan and not his family?”

“Oh no. I meant, I will try. Let me TRY this marriage first. You know, I don’t need papers to announce my bonding with him. But it’s better that we have something in paper. You know, I ought to have SOME proof of being in love with him”

“Proof? Did I hear it right? You want a piece of paper as SECURITY for your togetherness?”

“In a way, yes. We dont’ really NEED it. We’re practically living together anyway. I live my life, he lives his. Actually, he’s a little too devoted, but that’s ok. I mean, he doesn’t get bored of me. I do date other men still. It’s kind of fun. But he’s ok with it. You know, I no longer sleep with anyone else”, she looked at me for some response.

“See, Laks. It’s not Rohan who has to be convinced that you’re in love with her. It’s YOU yourself. Can YOU live with him as he is? Do YOU love him enough to spend a lifetime with him? Are YOU going to be happy with him? Are YOU going to be faithful to him? Do YOU need a paper to certify your love for him? It’s YOU who needs to think….”

She remained silent and stirred her already semi-cold Espresso absent-mindedly.  He knew that she was thinking because she was lost to this world.

And after about five mins, she stood up abruptly. She scared me as I was beginning to get lost into my own world. She turned back and started walking and then stopped. She came back to the table and leaned towards me. With very intense eyes, she looked at me and said, “I know what you mean. I think I need some time alone”

I could say nothing but nod as she was already walking out of the Cafe by the time I collected my thoughts enough to think of a reply. As usual, she had paid on her way out and left a generous tip. She made me feel so small by these gestures of her. It hurt my pride. But I swallowed it and left the Cafe.

I heard nothing of her for most of the day. At eleven, she called. She sounded grim.

“Hi! Aditya. I thought about what you said”

“So? What’s your plan now?”

“I don’t know. It’s like I’m facing a wall. And your words are etched on the wall. I can break the wall and go to the other side or consider this wall as the end of my room and stay in my room”

“That’s a funny way of putting it. I don’t meant o restrict you. You are free to do whatever you want to. I only want you to consider thoroughly before you attach someone else’s life to yours. It’s a responsibility and make sure that you are willing plus capable of fulfilling that responsibility before jumping into matrimony”

“Ya, I guess so. You know, I don’t have any pen. Blood’s a good ink na?”

“Means?”, I was caught completely off guard by this question.

“Nothing, leave it. Thanks for being a terrific friend”, and she hung up.

I stood there, confused for a moment. And when it occurred to me what she meant, I ran for my car keys. I drove like a madman and reached her apartment in record time. Her door was open and soft Music was playing. My heart told me the worst had happened but I didn’t want to believe it.

Her bedroom door was open and I saw the wall before I saw her lying on the bed….

“Sometimes it’s better to follow the words on the wall”, it read in blood and she lay there still. She was quite dead, he could see that she wasn’t breathing. The Music continued to play……

………..I just called to say…….I love you…………….

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4 Comments

  1. Prasanna said,

    October 19, 2006 at 10:32 am

    i just didnt get the ending… 😦

  2. October 19, 2006 at 2:46 pm

    Well, for that I need to write another blog of the same name from Laks’ perspective. Then, you will probably understand what I’m trying to say….

  3. Bhargavi said,

    October 23, 2006 at 10:31 pm

    i dint get it either..why does she kill herself?
    But i like your style of writing…the flow is great.

  4. October 24, 2006 at 1:53 pm

    Thanks Bhargavi, but it’s hard to explain unless I write the blog again from the girl’s point of view. Then, you’ll know why she tried to kill herself. And the blog never says that she IS dead. It leaves an open end. I like open ended blogs that can have any meaning…….


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