So this friend of mine, Ujjwal and I decided to do an experiment. I had written a story to which he decided to write the male part. We figured it would be an interesting idea to see how the male and female versions of the story differ, and where they come back in the same path.
I've put up my story in this post, and will put his up in my next one.
Waiting for your feedbacks! Hope you all enjoy this little something :) Here goes.....
I had always laughed at him for being slow when it came down to the heart.
He spent his days composing music.. Finding those chords in the tips of the piano which would ever be able to sing his heart, to explain those thoughts and to bear out his love.
His own love,which he never understood.
But his piano did, and so did I,who heard him..
We had been friends for over 4 years..
The story goes .... I was a dancer, in the personal crew of Ashley Lobo. We had a production show in Kuwait. Before the finale of the last piece, my co-dancer, Nina got an unfortunate injury. The lifts were impossible for her,her injured knee wouldn't support all the reverse lifts, the spins. So I had to take over,and I did.
The last step with Ashley,his hands in on my waist and my right leg pointed up towards the sky, became the picture poster over all the towns and countries.. Our production show was a success so huge and glorious.
I met Amartya there. After the show. Among the hundreds who were screeching to just shake my hand once.. No, not among them.
He stood quietly at one corner of the stage, looking at the brimming crowd around Ashley and me. He wasn't staring. He looked in a way that didn't make me conscious, but shy... I felt appreciated by his eyes, I felt peace in his posture.
Among the hundreds who were pulling me,to just feel my hand,to carry a mote of dust from the glitter that smeared my body.. I was trying to look away, at him.
And then? He burst my bubble. He walked away.
I was taken aback. His unpredictable mood swings were a part of him that I was yet to discover.
He hurried out of the hall, and my eyes were just following his fast pace,resting at the closed brown door behind him.
Wasn't till Ashley shook me and I looked at him distracted and irritated, and quickly made up with a fake smile,that came back to where I was. What a pity he never understood my feelings..Not in dance,not in reality. But he was a good man. And I was there with him,for that very reason.
The show was over,and we had two days in hand. To look,to just explore Kuwait.
I was always a very...socialising and happy person. Going out for trips with friends/co-dancers was something I always looked forward to.
But this time,after the show, I didn't feel like. I felt the kind of emptiness that one feels after having consumed lots of alcohol,and then realizing it never did give me a high.
The show was a success, but the end..Was just incomplete.
I decided to go alone. See and venture,alone. After a long long time.
I saw him in the gallery. He was looking at a photograph that caught my eyes,first thing.
It showed a man and a woman,naked,embraced in each other,standing on a rock. And the sky around them was a deep shade of navy blue with stars,and the moon looking larger than it's usual. A surreal dream.
The interpretation could vary from mind to mind.
To the simple mind of mine, it was love. That's it.
I wanted to go there. Have a better look. But I didn't. He was there, and after our first strike,there was no way I was making way for another.
I looked at the other photograph, but my eyes knew where to look. The lulled sleep of silence in the gallery was almost screaming his presence.
Why was I so intrigued? I hadn't spoken to this man. I hadn't known he existed till 22 hours back.
Why was I so over whelmed by his presence? Why did I feel so intoxicated whenever I saw his posture shift, almost as if each of them reflected what he thought?
I made useless efforts of looking at the photographs,but was caught by my own self looking at him every few minutes.
And to all my feelings,thoughts,and uneasiness,
he walked out of the gallery, again.
As fate kept proving it's mythical existence, we met again, at a cafe, few streets down the gallery.
When I saw him in,I chose to sit out.
It was hot. And I was disgusted how my attraction towards him compelled me to repel him. It was so silly, and more over,unlike me. I ordered for a smoothie,and waited.
I saw him glance at me,his eyes hardly looked a mere 3 seconds. However,I felt naked under that gaze. He seemed to have sorted out who I was,and what I might be. He looked away.
My amusement and intrigue turned into irritation.
I looked down, and concentrated in the pattern of the table cloth.
After 5 minutes or so,I smelt a different flavour of aftershave. I looked up,and he was there.
"Hi, I'm amartya" I was baffled. At the beauty of his face. His smile, so warm,and his eyes,greeting.
"Mind if I sit down? I was hoping to talk to you since last night's performance."
"......Sure." [After walking out on me twice since yesterday,sure you were..] I added to myself.
"So. I presume you're Bengali?"
"Yes. Oshmita Sengupta. You?"
"Amartya Bhattacharya. Doesn't the name suggest I'm Bengali?" The sarcastic edge to his voice annoyed me. I was just trying to make conversation.
"Uh,not quite. Anyhow. You were saying you wanted to have a talk? Please go ahead"
"Franky,I just wanted to congratulate you."
"Oh. Thank you" I was disappointed. I wanted him to say so much more. Had I been wrong in guessing he understood my dance? Had I been wrong in thinking he'd know my feelings at every step and turn,last night?
"A fan of Satyajit Ray,I see?" He looked at the book peeking out of my bag.
"A huge one. So what brings you to Kuwait?"
"That was quite elaborate! Thank you"
"You see.. I came here because I wanted to see this place. My grandfather died here when I was a kid. I wanted to see the great deal he spoke off. I wanted to understand why he thought dying here was better than dying in Lahore"
"Lahore?" I looked,interested.
"He was in the army."
"I like army"
"Anybody from your family in it?"
"No. I wanted to be in it." The shock on his face was priceless. Men. No matter how old they grow.. I smiled,to myself.
"What was the smile at?"
"At the shock which mocked your face."
"Your adjectives need to be brushed."
"It was never shock. It was awe"
"In that case, your face has major expression issues."
"About that...You bet!" He almost quietly said to himself.
And then,he smiled at something only his mind could see.
While I...tried not to fall in love.
Our friendship sewed itself. Weaved itself from the initial wools of the flight back to India,and then to the 4 years that followed.
I learned how his mind worked,better than him. We used to spend ample amount of time at each other's.. Him composing music, and I dancing along with anything I liked.
He wasn't expressive. But the slightest of gestures he did brought out the obvious fact of his care for me.
We partied. Oh yes we did. He saw lots of women,I saw men. But no matter how many dates we went to,we'd be back with coffee in his house,late at night, talking. Just talking.
Sometimes,he'd play a tune unknown on the piano and listening to it, I'd fall asleep. And no matter how stressful life might have seemed,the sleep after was the sweetest thing ever.
Our love for each other was platonic... or so,he thought. But somewhere inside,no matter how many dates and second dates I might have been to with men, I'd never be closer to another soul than him. I'd never feel more protected in anybody else's arm no matter how skeletal Amartya might have been,and no matter how cliche this line might have sounded.
I wasn't in love with him. But it was definitely something. And I didn't want to know.
He fell in love with a girl from the studio he worked in.
I helped him deal with it, I heard out his feelings. At the end of his outburst,I kissed him on his forehead, and assured him that she'd be with him,soon enough.
I asked him to go to sleep, and I was about to leave his room when he called,
"Osh.. What would I do without you?"
"I love you."
"I know that ass! You've always been so slow when it came down to the heart."
I smiled a wink at him,switched the lights off,and shut the door behind me.
I was watching T.V sitting on his couch, I didn't feel like getting back home. The blue light from the T.V illuminated the contours of my face, which was deep in wonder.
I felt his hands reach out to me from behind my neck, a hug. He kissed me on my forehead,smiled sleepily, and said "Gnite sweetheart."
He walked like a sleepy child,dragging his feet towards his room,while my heartbeat rose and the wonders that my face reflected was born out of a tear, and I realized that, that definitely something was something I had come to know,after all.
I was in love with him.
The girl from the studio and he dated for about 7 months.
One day he came to my house, his shoulders slouched.
"Yeap we're off." he said with finalment in his tone.
"I can see that in your shoulders.. Want to tell me more?"
"Osh,some coffee please?"
I got him some coffee.
"She thought I was too closed in a nutshell. She said I didn't let her enter the private corners of my life"
"She had a problem."
I looked at him in shock. I was taken aback.
"God, I could talk to her? Amart, you want me to call her right now and tell her there's nothing up?!"
"But! But you can't let this go because of her suspicions! I thought she understood your silence! I thought she figured your feelings without you having to yell them at her!"
"Every body's not you,Osh."
And we left it at that.
Another year passed,Amartya still stayed submissive to his own thoughts. His frustration,anger,happiness,love- everything was reflected in the tunes he made.. In those chords he played.
I could hear them with so much clarity, and he played them with such accuracy. Yet, I smiled with a sad heart that he never realized what his heart held.
Talks of my marriage began at home,back in Calcutta. A boy was selected. He came down to Delhi,as I couldn't leave rehearsals. We met..a nice gentleman.
That night,when Amart came to meet me,he had a strange feeling to his eyes.
"Yeah.. Nice guy." I smiled at him.
"So..it's on? The wedding?"
I looked at him. And I didn't say anything.
"Don't spend your life looking for the perfect guy,Osh. Give it a chance when life's being generous enough to lead you to what you've dreamt off."
The marriage was on.
I felt the gold adorned in my hand. I felt my earrings, big and long. My eyes drawn into lashes of a doll. My apparel...... A Bengali bride.
My brothers carried me to the altar on the tiny stool- The Bengali tradition.
And as I put down those two beetle leaves that covered my eyes, I saw a groom who didn't smile at me.
I saw a groom,who didn't posses the capacity of just looking at me and letting me know that I looked beautiful. Who couldn't make me feel the euphoria of being a bride...
As I sat in the altar, I saw Amartya making his way out of the crowd..Wearing a maroon kurta and a golden cotton dhoti..
His panic left him in paintings,he looked at me and smiled. He looked at me and made managed to make me feel I look beautiful. When he looked at me,I felt like a bride..
We both knew what he had realized,
and we both just looked at each other,as the rituals of the marriage continued.