Thursday, August 27, 2009

Before going (2001)

The restaurant at Charlottenburg was nearly empty. There was a family of five in the middle of the room. And the two of them near the window away from the street. Apart from the usual formalities, they had not said much till the dessert was served. His eyes had a glazed look while he stared at the plate for a while. Then, he turned his head away, looked outside at the sky, at nothing. She looked at his grey hair and weary eyes. She was still looking at him when he turned his face to look at her. As per habit, his eyes tried to adjust and change the expression quickly to the smiling carefree one. But he gave up that effort and just looked at his companion’s dimple and deep dark eyes. Companions in steady flight, with farewells that merge with welcome, a relationship never defined.

A: Were you surprised?
S: Not surprised, just trying to figure it out.
A: What, Swapna? Figure what out?
S: Why?
A: I need a partner. I need a life.
S: Yes, I know that part. But that is not what I am thinking about. Why now?
A: Why not now?
S: Are you tempting fate? You know about your luck now.
A: Yes. If I fall, let me fall heavily. Is that what I am thinking? Am I being selfish and not thinking twice about dragging a faultless girl with me down into the dumps?
S: What about having a job before marrying?
A: What if I have a job and got smashed by a truck?
S: But Arjun…
A: No, Swapna. Can’t you see what I am doing? Forcing a rebirth.
S: And, are you ready for the personal change?
A: Can one be ready?
S: Arjun, don’t change too much…
A: I have to, Swapna, I have to. The old style just doesn’t work.
S: But, I can’t picture you as the patient unperturbed insensitive lover.
A: Well, will you like a demanding excitable oversensitive guy?
S: I don’t know. And the rage and pain – all that which makes us?
A: Will I put up a charade? Is that what you are asking?
S: Will you stop asking for total loyalty? Will you stop yourself from giving totally? Will it be just pleasant decent stuff?
A: If the woman is successful and free of trouble, does she need more? Will she appreciate the look in my eyes? Will she want a letter or a call? Will she feel thrilled when I kiss her hand? Will we hold each other and feel totally uninhibited?
S: Arjun, will I have to go?
A: (nodded)

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