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Wednesday, 04 February 2015 08:50

Joyride Of A Lifetime Featured

Meghna Gupta Written by 
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She strolled up to the fence , pigtails fluttering in the wind , Samantha hanging onto dear life by her left hand ; the curiosity of an eight year old , to overlook beyond the fence . He looked up too , dismounting his bicycle immediately and waving happily at his new " friend ". She of course , snobbish with her Mumbai "airs", didn't reciprocate in the same manner , but instead waved Samantha's palm right back at him . He was grinning cheek to cheek , obviously , and invited both his visitors to cross over , into his garden.

She looked behind her without heeding him , and saw the movers monotonously unloading their belongings from the truck - her parents supervising them from a short distance. The Sun was higher now , and she felt hot . She pulled her lace hat down nearer her face and quietly walked away.

That same evening , as she was seated with her father at their dinner table , they had surprise guests , of their " new neighbours ". It was the impish boy from across the fence , and another gentleman with him .

" Jasnaam Dolat ," the gentleman introduced himself , while shaking hands with her father , a stout , dark , humble scientist , who had recently resigned from his government post , to start his own pharmaceutical plant , here in Delhi .

" Hanumant Joshi . Glad to meet you  . Please join us for dinner , we have some simple dishes here ."
 She could see the boys' eyes lit up again at the prospect ; a disgusting trait she thought , as her own mother would have , and often did , admonish her if she ever happened to enjoy the meals off other kids' tiffins at school . What could such a boy be possibly named she wondered ?

" Randeep , boy say hello ! " , his father prompted him .

" And this here is Sanjita ," said Mr. Joshi . She learnt by and by , he had no mother , and that she had passed away in a tragic accident some months ago . This aspect of his life , mellowed her a bit towards him.

" This is my mother , " he showed her a locket one afternoon , as they lay under a tree .

" Copy of his mother ! " she had thought and had been amazed .

They started poking sticks into ant-holes , giggling at the adamancy of the tiny creatures to make a detour , and yet no matter what , find their path home. That game had subconsciously taught them, that when you are passionate about something , nothing should deter you from attaining it ...

They got up , with a new idea to celebrate their newly acquired lesson - plant a lemon tree ! Sanu ran to her refrigerator , returning with a lemon in hand. Ranu squashed the pulp with a few jumps, and picked up the seeds . Together they sowed them in the soil , deciding to take turns to water it. " This is our tree of friendship ! ", they chimed in innocent unison.

How the seasons passed into years, how the sapling grew into a sturdy tree bearing coy white blossoms , that dangled airily with every breeze ! The scent of lemons permeated the air , as though Nature had conspired to keep Ranu in Sanu's mind 247, and vice versa by the reminder of their friendship in the whiffs of air .  

"Sanu !", he yelled, " are you coming or should I leave ?"
"Coming !" she hurried , a book nearly about to slip out of her grip in the haste . He kick-started his bike and off they were speeding on their way to her college .

" And haven't I told you too , that you may leave without me if you're in such a hurry !". She wasn't letting him get the better of her . Not always . Her terse remark , so unlike her sweet self, made him overlook the bump that was coming , skidding , leaving him off balance and sending the bike and its riders into a dismantled heap over each other !
The initial sting of the fall was jolted to oblivion , when they discovered themselves into each others' arms , embraced and glued together . The awareness of their touches sent a zillion sparks bursting in every cell of their bodies . The freshness of it , the sensational zestiness - it was all inexplicable . All they knew was , it felt like having discovered Paradise !

They managed to straighten up by and by , and also lifted the bike up . They mounted on it silently , a bit tensed even , now . The rest of the ride was silent upto her college , loaded with a newfound awareness of each other . Just before she got off , he adjusted the side view mirror to glance at her face ; she noticed it and blushed slightly .

" Take care ," he said , as usual , but today it sounded as though he really meant it.
She saw him waiting in the afternoon , like always , from his way back from his dad's office , to pick her up from college for going home. They were in a lighter mood than the morning , and even giggled together at jokes they cracked while passing people and commenting on them to each other . When he left her home , she waved good bye and touched the rim of her spectacles ; something she did whenever she was in deep thought...
The next day , there he was, smiling impishly - it reminded her of the first time she saw him , in his garden , asking her to cross over . It's just , that she now recalled his outstretched arm he had held out to help her , as he held now ... As she walked towards  him , she felt the warm tingling of pricks on her cheeks , like a hundred needles poking them , ( and even heard her heart step up its beats ) .

They were closer today , the distance of childhood had been crossed over , unlike the fence she hadn't , and a realization of their attraction for each other , allowed her to slip her hand onto his crotch occasionally as they rode on ; and he took the liberty to feel her bosom with his back . She was wearing a perfume today , quite unlike her .

" Nice fragrance !", he teased her knowingly , and instead of taking him on , she just let it pass with a soft , blushing laughter .
As they neared her college , she complained , " I don't want to... I don't want to go to college today , please ! I don't want to go to college today , please , please Ranu . "

"Since when has studious Sanu started playing truant ?! ", he further teased her . He knew very well , her dedication towards her studies , the aspirations of her parents from her , the background of her very well-educated family - a Brahmin Maharashtrian middle-class family , who placed great value on academics as their only source of recognition and pride . 

" Not today , please , just not today , " she promised.

" Okay , let's take us for a joyride then !!". He made a turndown while saying this , his own enthusiasm for all things fun , mounting up , the son of a wealthy businessman , showered with abundance since childhood ; all he lacked was attention and care ...

He pumped up the volume of his favourite track on his ipod , and a couple of bunny-hops down the road , she was screeching and shrieking like a banshee with glee !! 

That evening Mrs. Joshi noticed a change in her daughter's demeanor , and meant to mention it to her husband at the earliest instance.

" Sanu has grown up now !" she said , to her husband the same evening when he returned home from work .

" Do you think , I'm a fool !? Or do you take me to be a blind ? ", he replied in his usual dog-chases-cat fashion.

" I wasn't the topper in my batch for nothing ! I have already found a match for Sanu in Dhanesh Lele , a Cambridge qualified MBA , working in Global Pharma , son of my close associate Anand Lele .They will come next week to meet Sanu...till then let there be peace...! "  the last words were spoken in a rush to resume his reading of the Stock Market Newspapers.

The lemon tree stood alone today, waiting for either one to come and water it , as was the deal between them . But today , none were forthcoming .  Where were they ? Blissfully ignorant , wrapped in each others' hugs , they didn't imagine they had come farthest away on their daily escapades today. Suddenly , the clouds crackled , as though inspired by their joyrides to try some backflips and tailwhips of their own !!
The lovebirds were sent fleeing for shelter , as the skies broke loose , isolated from all mankind , into a cavern they could call their " own ". Once there , they found solace in the arms of one another ; till the magic began - the only spectator to their passionate orchestra was an owl perched above, who just added a chorus of loud hoots to their animalistic grunts, growls , purrs , hisses , mooing , moans , screeches and gasps...as they explored each other fervently ...

When the Sun shone again , it brought in a new sunlight into their worlds , one in which they had known the joyride that darkness had taken them on. The way back home was never so reluctant , the rubbing of her soft curves against his solid flats never so gratifying...They exchanged looks which only they could decipher , as they dismounted the bike and went to their respective homes . 

" Sanu , where have you been ?? I have been looking for you - there had been a thunderstorm ! " her mother demanded as soon as she entered .

" Now go and change , for Heaven's sake , look at you all drenched...! ", her mother marched her off .

Changed and refreshed she sat down at her study- table, recalling all that had surpassed that afternoon , as she sipped from a mug of hot coffee . She blushed a couple times , then set herself to her studies .
She was ready the next day , earlier than usual , only to see a new car and a chauffeur waiting at the gate .

"Sanu , we have arranged a car to bring you to college and back , from now onwards . You should stop talking to boys now...you are no more a girl !"

" Good morning," she said to herself, (but dared not let her mother notice her expression) . " Did you say something ?", she still prodded investigating.

As she seated herself within her new mode of transport , her eyes looked about helplessly for him. She was very distracted today during all the lectures , fidgety too , to go home as soon as possible . She wanted to meet him , see him , talk to him. There had not been a single day past ten years , when they had not met or spoken to each other on a daily basis . She dialled his number.

" Hello ", he responded from the other end . He sounded perturbed too  . " Ranu ?! "

He told her about how her parents had come over to invite his father last night , for her engagement ceremony , how while leaving ,  her mother glanced askew at him , as though warning him to keep distance from her daughter , passing snide remarks of how most motherless kids were ill-mannered and reckless , how their relationship will only lead to futility , how their togetherness would be impossible, the inter- caste issues , the objections ...A Brahmin vegetarian girl , a Jat meat-eating boy , the non acceptance from both sides , the prospective oppositions...He wouldn't want her to go through all this hell . He wished her luck always and hung up...

She walked towards the car , letting the facts hammer themselves in . As she entered her home, she saw her mother serving  coffee , and a lady unknown to her , quite well-dressed though and with a formal behaviour , seated beside her mother .

" Come Sweetheart , just in time ," her mother greeted her and invited her to join in . " This is Sanjita , or Sanu as we call her ." The lady nodded in appreciation .

 " Hello aunty , " Sanu gave her salutations .

" Sanu , soon you should be addressing her as " mother " instead of aunt ", her mother informed her lovingly and chuckled .

Sanu left them briefly and moved towards her room listlessly ; lifeless rather .
Once alone , she sat down to grieve her loss . But she had a partner in need , who wanted to share it ; Samantha from the cupboard was looking into her eyes . She took her down , hugged her , and cuddled up to her in bed , as she used to , as a little girl , drifting slowly into dreamland .

She dreamt of a knight rider , he reached out for her and lifted her onto the back seat . She tried looking at his face , but it was masked beneath a dark helmet , which he promised to remove once they were alone . She saw the trees brushing past as they rode on , the birds above them singing songs of melancholic love and parting , the mountains dressed in their bright green coats , like a band playing at her wedding , all were enchantingly pleasant ...until they reached the dead-end of a cliff .

The rider stopped his bike abruptly , and asked her to get off it . As soon as she obliged , then without a further warning , he did a 360 Degrees and then sped off the cliff !!

She sprang out of sleep , and found herself in a puddle of her own perspiration .

She felt hungry . She went down to the refrigerator, and heard the start of his bike . She rushed out , only to catch the last mud thrown up in the air , as he raced away alone . That had been her last attempt at trying to get a glimpse of him .

He showed up himself , dressed in a smart formal suit on the day of her engagement , smiling as always .  As for her , her bespectacled , soft profile wore chic make-up today ( without the glasses of course) , and her loose-fitting college casuals , were replaced by an elegant , South Silk sari , with perfectly selected and matched accessories - every inch an eye-candy today ! In fact, as soon as he set eyes on her , he skipped several heart beats in a row .
She was angry with him , angry for the neglect he had shown her the past few days , angry for his indifference on her engagement , for his refusal to bid her a befitting farewell in the least... She decided to let him have a piece of her mind as well .She ignored him completely . This was her revenge on him .

They happened to interlock their gazes a couple of times , but she would soon untangle it , purposefully . Soon her fiance arrived too , looking dashing in a crimson blazer and was made to sit besides her . She pretended to be giving him her undivided attention ( though ensuring another pair of eyes were on her ) . She searched if Ranu noticed , but he was absent again !

After the exchange of rings and formalities , her father announced a round of refreshments , much to her relief ...She helped herself around clumsily , a few cousins and friends helping her up too , not being used to such party-wear , and let her alone by herself , briefly , on a couch . She turned . He was standing against a pillar , hidden from the rest , eyes intently marking her moves . He made a peacock with his fingers and made it dance in her direction , as he often did whenever he had approved of her looks ,  indicating how gorgeous she looked today . It made her blush anew , and she appreciated his gimmicks to always make her laugh , which showed in her spontaneous smile .

He fetched her , her favorite dessert , the "gulab jamun " ; only it was half-eaten , and she knew why ; this is how they had been sharing sweets since childhood .
It dawned on them , their closeness was not subject to names or relations , they would remain close no matter what happened to them or where life would take them .They had been on a joyride together , and it would last them a lifetime .
They didn't need anyone's approval of what they felt about each other or whether it was legitimate ...They just felt like having visited Paradise in each others' company , and that sufficed for them .

She returned after six months of her marriage , to spend time with her parents . She had heard he was very busy in his office nowadays , since she had left . People hardly saw him or knew his whereabouts . She needed Samantha again today , she had that tinge in her bosom welling ... Holding Samantha by her left hand she proceeded outside .

She saw the lemon tree, it was sprouting the white blooms afresh . The familiar whiffs pervading the atmosphere once again ...

An unexpected shower of rain at this time of the year surprised her ! She took refuge under the lemon tree . She hugged it tight , and a pair of pearly drops escaped her eyes and mingled with the rain unnoticed by anyone - or was it so ?  A pair of warm hands clasped her own ; he was here at last ! She clutched him closer tightly and let herself cry long on his chest like never before , as he patted her head and kissed her forehead...

And she , well she was always present , watching over them , like always , from the locket hanging on his neck !

 

- Meghna Gupta Jogani .

 

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Read 3448 times Last modified on Monday, 01 February 2016 11:31
Meghna Gupta

Meghna Gupta Jogani ,born in Mumbai ,has a Masters degree in English from Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thakersey University,Mumbai.The studies on Feminism greatly influenced her art in writing. Her...
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