A Dive Into The Past
So unexpected was the meeting
It was in the dim candle light
Of a city restaurant that I saw her
How time had etched its marks on her
The long dark curly hair
Has turned all white
The even set of pearly teeth
Now discolored with missing gaps
A weeping willow with gnarled branches!
Did she recognize me?
Her searching eyes registered
A limp awareness
Soon I saw her cataract eyes shining
In unclouded recognition!
My memory like the arm of a crane
Lowered to plough up the hard crust of the past
And rose with heaps of broken rubble
I nosedived into the past
To the little village
Where, as children we ran round
The long necked shady trees
Until our little heads went dizzy
Stealing behind the tall grass
How I would suddenly yell out;
‘The thief is in hide
Come and track me if you can’
Forcing on her an arduous search,
All the while giggling at her vain efforts!
How we ran after the ripe mangoes
That fell in ones and twos
When the winds shook the fruit laden boughs
And how we quarreled over the yellow ones
Like mongrels over a piece of bone
I remember once when the drizzle
Suddenly strengthened into a heavy down pour
With thunder and lightning accompanying,
How we ran dripping and frightened
Seeking shelter in the empty cow shed
At the backyard of a house,
Clasping tight to each other!
She was then a little girl
With springing feet and dancing steps
Naïve and naughty with all mouth and ears
But as time skipped by
She kept a safe distance
No more I saw the former ebullience in her
In its place, a quiet reserve settled in
The chatterbox no more opened her mouth
To my questions, her answers were mono syllables
My efforts to walk by her side
Always ended in futility
Either she would quicken her gait
Or lag behind at snail’s pace
Seeing me somewhere,
She would walk away with eyes down cast
But I always noticed a faint smile
Lingering on her curved narrow lips
Around it, I built my dream castle
Where she reigned as my dazzling queen!
I am not sure how it was with her
One day even without an abrupt goodbye
I had to leave my hometown to an alien soil.
For long, she came, sailing in my dreams!
After a couple of years when I returned
To the land of my childhood
The mute witness to my unuttered passion
I knew from a close friend
That she was forced into a marriage
Much to her Consternation!
She is reported to have confided to someone
That she hoped the ‘thief who stole her heart
Would one day, come out from hide’
We met again
We heard each other’s cracked voice
And stood so lost
Unable to recollect all
Much water has flowed down
Under the bridge
And we float in the rush of currents!
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