lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

Location: Kolkata, India

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Din dhal jaaye

I leaned back in my cane chair and smiled. You smiled back. The cool aftermath of rain left the evening scented and becalmed. Too early for frogs. The balcony had some puddles left still, but our corner was dry, our chairs in the usual places, the table between.

I hadn’t bothered to turn the lights on against the arriving night. We sat savouring the evening. The scent of raat ki raani arose presently, and I smiled again. You smiled back. So many memories hinge on that shrub and its fragrant flowers, do they not?

As dusk deepened into night I went in and fetched a drink. You raised yours in silent toast. We sat together, as always. On the balcony, among the scents of night blooming shrubs planted by some thoughtful gardener long ago, we sat together, as always.

The descending night brought its own haunting sounds. A flute sounded plaintively, poignantly. It was untutored, utterly without sophistication, but the melody tugged at the heart. Some workman from the nearby construction site, surely. We exchanged smiles, my question unasked and your reply unnecessary. What did it matter what raga it was?

A car sped by. I frowned. You must have sensed that frown because we were sitting in the dark. I felt rebuked by your silent reproof. Well, I suppose people did have to get from place to place.

There was no need for conversation. I thought your thoughts, and you could read mine, always. A glance and a smile, a squeeze of fingers or a nudge spoke for us. That distant sound of drums and cacophony, we shrugged at another procession to immerse another idol; that mournful hoot of a goods train before its wheels beat a rhythm on the tracks that lingered a long while after the train passed, we sighed in unison. So many memories attached to the sound of trains.

I went to fetch another drink, negotiating the furniture easily in the dark. I sighed as I sat down. You looked disapproving. I was sighing in contentment, mostly, in gratitude for all the perfect evenings that went before. One more evening... You nodded.

Something brought the fireflies out. I watched in surprise. I always liked fireflies and all that they evoked. Some flitted close enough to try and grab. I didn’t, of course. You wouldn’t have liked that.

It was getting late. A distant dog barked in impotent fury at some slight. I got up regretfully. I folded and put away the chairs, dragged the table to a safe corner so it wouldn’t get rained on. I murmured a good night to you. Another evening gone by.

I went to eat my solitary dinner.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know what I've been doing these past couple of years? Running all the time, along that endless path of work and more work. No time for blogs and no time for friends. What I have missed! I had almost forgotten what a brilliant writer you are. No, that's not it. Instant communicator, heart wrencher. God bless you and thank you for walking into my life one day through blogspace. And I'll think of you every time I hear the Bhairavi swarajati. Maybe one day I'll learn to sing it. Thinking of you.

6:06 pm  
Blogger Rimi said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:14 pm  
Blogger Rimi said...

Oh my.

And the beauty of this contented, affectionate familiarity took my breath away:

"I frowned. You must have sensed that frown because we were sitting in the dark. I felt rebuked by your silent reproof."

What can I say, Lali, that has not been said here before?

8:16 pm  
Blogger dipali said...

So evocative! So Lali:)

7:06 pm  
Anonymous PoD said...

"There was no need for conversation. I thought your thoughts, and you could read mine, always." - so simple and beautiful ! - wonderful writing, as always

8:10 pm  
Blogger Sivaram said...

It is lovely, lalita.
As long as men live, so does this; and therefore so do you !
Thanks for the writing !

8:19 pm  
Anonymous Non Sequitur Man said...

Well, well, well. Missus Em, you thumb your nose at big C and now you'd have us believe that you can share a drink with ultramundane companions without turning a hair and sit down to a solitary meal. Bravo!

Introduce him to the Canterville Ghost next time your drinking buddy turns up, they ought to have fun comparing notes.

9:53 pm  
Blogger Lalita said...

Anon- And spare a thought to the yadukulakambhoji svarajati while you are at it. :-)

Rimi- Thank you, princess.

Dipali- What can I say? How are you doing, though?

PoD- Hey, thanks.I didn't know you still followed my blog.

Sivaram- Come, sir. It is not seemly to make a lady blush.

NSM- There is a thought. The Canterville Ghost, eh?

10:13 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That, too, no doubt. And Todi. The whole lot. And perhaps it is time to go back to doing crosswords in your honour.

2:43 pm  
Anonymous Arnab said...

Hmm... suddenly had a ton of free time in hand... so thought of reading some blogs... your blog came to mind... read it... liked it...

7:16 am  
Blogger Meghna said...

Hi Lalita,
I'm new here but I loved ur blog...count me in as a regular reader :P
U hav a way with words like none another is...keep up the good wrk and plsss visit my blog if you get time :P

Will be visiting more often :)

10:01 am  
Blogger Banno said...

Lovely. Take care.

11:30 am  
Blogger Lalita said...

Anon- Sure it is always time to do crosswords. I am not so fond of the todi svarajati though.

Arnab- Hi Arnab. Nice of you to post a comment. Do come back once in a while.

Meghna- Hi Meghna, welcome. I will definitely visit your blog.

Banno- Thank you.

6:04 am  
Anonymous Nisha said...

amazing piece of writing that can take anyone away to their memory land. Keep writing.

3:58 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

new to the world of blogs. nice to read some good stuff from you.

12:16 pm  
Blogger AMIT said...

The tile is very good of your blog."Din Dhal Jaye".

Boise real estate

11:09 pm  

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