***********WOOING GEETA- PART 2**********
Before I could open my heart to Geeta, her father got transferred to Amritsar.
They went away with all their belongings leaving behind with me my longings. She took with her my little ‘bleating’ heart. What was left with me was a big void where the heart used to be. It was so big that I could keep in it the precious cricket balls I used to get sometimes even by putting myself at great risk. I would try to fill it with a lean hope, which is often described as a ray of hope and so would I like to see it because a ray of light only can fill the void irrespective of its size. But the ray was as feeble as the sun rays in Shimla are, bereft of any warmth. I even tested it once by putting a magnifying glass of remote possibility on its path to get a focus on a blank sheet of paper I put before me for writing a letter to her, but it didn’t catch fire, the fire they say love is capable of starting.
It worried me sick to think that with her, maybe the nascent flame of love that had got lit in me had got gone out for good. I worried that for such a charming girl there will be an intrusion of suitors like cockroaches attracted to Cocoa beans, and there will be a nest of rumors to sully her reputation. I worried how I, a gawky lad from a quaint little town, tucked in the Himalayas will continue to hold her flighty heart charmed, in the absence of assignations where I may regularly stoke the embers of love implanted by me in her little heart by lisping some non-sequiturs. There will be street Romeos with Gangster haircuts roaming her street day in and day out, whistling lusty tunes rich with innuendoes, passing by her window every now and then. Where will she remember a cute kid with an Old School short haircut, knowing nothing better than “Nanhe Munne Bachche teri mutthi mein kya hai” which incidentally was not only his favourite song depicting the reality and the sum total of his knowledge but among the only few songs he knew before the imposing poems like Karamveer gained control over the territories of his heart. It’s not that he was charged up like a stud, but he had learned from his peers that valour was the precondition to seeding of love in the hearts of the does. It was an empirical truth all animals had to follow. In the bird kingdom, some leeway was given as the suitors could dance to charm their mates but in the animal kingdom, it was brawn that called the shots. I would see myself battered, bruised, and bleeding in an arena dominated by the hounds virile and aggressive, fighting for supremacy like the animals do for the doe-eyed girl which was all mine, so I thought until the news of the transfer of her father shattered my glittering world of glass.
True, the time not yet lost in my memory was when inspired by a poem about what the daredevils could do I had accosted her to express the thought that tormented me but the memories of the songs like “Nanhe Munne Bachche teri mutthi mein kya hai weren’t yet faded either. But now the opening bars of that song haunted me because a thought occurred to me that if and if ever I happened to meet her in Amritsar, she might tease me by singing those lines back to me as perhaps that’s all I might be left holding in this game of love which was turning murky.
That song in particular tormented me because of the innuendoes. I worried that if and when I could muster the courage to meet her to stoke the old flame, I may find her walking arm in arm with a roadside Romeo with a weird hairdo speaking rustic Punjabi and they may together make fun of me, tease me by calling me as “Nanhein Munne Bachche” or just walk past me, ignoring me and I may be left holding just what the boys of my age joked as to what that song implied by the words “Nanhein munne Bachche teri muththi mein kya hai”.
Our maternal grandparents lived in Amritsar and we used to go there every alternate year during winter vacation. We visited our paternal grandparents at Modinagar every other year. We preferred going to Modi Nagar over Amritsar but when suddenly my other three siblings found me fiercely pitching for going to Amritsar whenever the discussion about the place to go for vacation ensued, they were not only intrigued but alarmed, because Amritsar was not only the first preference of our mother and knowing her for the parental favourtism that she showered on me there was a fear in them that she would decide upon Amritsar over Modinagar. I was in the ninth standard and because my father thought I could be an Engineer, he had chosen a tough non-medical stream for my torture. It was a good two years since they had left Shimla and the hope of meeting her had faded and the embers in my heart had nearly died.
But bleak though, the hope was still there of meeting her, of stoking the dying embers of love by blowing furiously on them to revive, the flame if some suitor had not doused it with calumny, deceit, and fake promises. I would occasionally let my thoughts venture into the riskier zone of stoking her cheeks, playing with her hair, and even kissing her. I comforted my heart by telling, that chance permitting and my courage prevailing over my diffidence which was an intrinsic part of my disposition, I could even go beyond kissing on the path of love with her. But constant egging on, by the lines, plucked from the diaglogues of the peers, and some build-up of adrenaline caused by the confused states of hormones because of overactive androgen, due confluence of natural and thought process whipped further up by physical manipulation of pudenda, I was like a dangerous oversexed, possessed fiend letting my thoughts venture into female erogenous zones for deep carnal pleasures. or so I thought I was.
I had no reason to believe that she loved me and this made my resolve steeler for it triggered in me the thought of abducting her, not like that by an uncouth, uncultured, villain of a B-grade movie but like that valorous abduction of Samyukta by Prithvi Raj Chauhan from Samyamvar in a spectacular act of chivalry. because she had not objected to my advances if you may count our meeting on the lonely lover’s lane as one, and I still hoped to win over her.
As they say that Man proposes and God disposes. The case of this supplicant who was not a boy and not a man was very serious. I had reposed my faith in Him and He couldn’t let me down. As if to instill courage in me, He sent in my life a bold, ingenious, young man who too wasn’t yet a fully grown man but the visible signs of coming of age were showing on his face. And you won’t believe me if I tell you that his name was Prithvi Raj. The name inspired me and I swear the thought of my Samyukta getting abducted by him didn’t cross my mind even once. I saw him as a godsent messiah.
He was the brother of my cousin’s friend and was bold, elder, and experienced in matters of love. He was full of schemes of approaching the uninitiated girls. He heard my love story to fathom the depth of my involvement and pressed me hard to think of the signs of love.
“Have you seen any visible signs of heightened desire in her like some somatosensory or olfactory stimuli, the bitten girls leave around like spoor trail?”
I didn’t understand what the hell he was talking about. Till then I was only aware of the foul odor that emanated from the privies, I passed by on my way to school and the only meaning of the word ‘periods’ I understood was the intervening time between two bells for learning different subjects in the classroom. But I couldn’t let him know how big what you think I have in mind to speak about myself (noun as an adjective), I was because at the age I was all big was small. I fibbed about how lovelorn she was and how frequently she would start crying on one pretext or the other in the ‘period’ between hearing the news of her father’s transfer and their final departure. I lied that I had gone to see them off at the Railway Station and she couldn’t tear her tearful eyes off me, I saw till the train was swallowed by Tunnel No. 103.
“She wanted to hug me”. “She wanted to hide in my embrace and shed those copious tears of love, I said, but she didn’t want to make a public spectacle of it.” Prithvi must have seen through my lies because he smiled, but he didn’t want to discourage a young lover. He affirmed that the girl was not only in love with me but was rather screaming like a drowning man (or woman in this case) to be taken in the arms like a repeated retake of a movie sequence, and not only that, she was pretending to have passed out in the hope that I will give her a ‘kiss of life’ and here I was busy wasting my time in feeling her pulse.
He took it upon him the holy task of uniting two (OK one) lover(s) separated by circumstances. He chalked out a plan to take me to their place for a rendezvous, which by his reckoning was already overdue. He said that Amritsar was a city of the hawks. One couldn’t leave one’s case to destiny. Petitioning for divine intervention was Ok, perhaps in small towns like Shimla but in Amritsar one had to act quickly because the comely girls get trapped by the predators who masquerade as suave suitors. And they are very professional in their approach and manner that easily charms the trusting doves. The Khaadu type of sniveling, whining boys, habituated to wiping their snots with the back of their hands, holding their pajamas tied loosely around the waist by frayed nadas with the other, stand no chance against them. It is obvious that they would lose because the girls have every right of wondering how would they have their hands free for demonstrating their intent and their dare if any they possess to possess them? He felt sorry for the hopeless case he had taken upon himself for bringing to fruition, but then he enjoyed working on the hopeless cases and my hope now hung on his plans nevertheless.