Lutyen’s Delhi looks beautiful at night. Deserted roads lit with street lights look like deep grey rivers frozen in time. While weekends witness great activity with love-struck couples, change-desperate families and ever-jubilant students swarming the India Gate premises, weekdays are mostly deserted with a handful of dreamers like yours truly ambling around with like minded non-conformers. When it’s well past midnight on a weekday, there’s hardly any soul around to see the wind caressing the green façade surrounding the roads, whispering jokes it heard throughout the day in the political arenas, making the trees shake with laughter and tremble with the horror of what lies ahead. It’s a beauty that’s rare and exquisite.
I was driving in circles on the roads with my long time friend that night when she told me she was leaving for Dubai for good.
“Will you be coming back to visit sometime?” I asked her as calmly as I could.
“I don’t think so”, she said, looking outside the window. Her lustrous black hair was wrapped in a tango with the wind, obstructing her view sometimes. But she seemed oblivious, making no attempt to tame it.
My mind was a blur. Words popped up in no logical sequence but I kept myself from blurting by concentrating on the road ahead. I am a very controlled man. Life has taught me to not wear my heart on my sleeve. Apart from giving easy access to any bumbling bee who wants to kick it around, it serves no fruitful purpose. But this girl was different.
I knew this was coming. It had been on the cards for years now. But I thought we will work it out some way, not knowing how. We being together was the most logical thing. So logical that it never had to be worded between us in all these years. Not until now I guess.
“I am happy for you. When are you leaving then?” I said almost mechanically.
“In a couple of days” she replied.
“I am going to be very lonely here without you. Can’t even imagine”, I said, giving in partly to the aggravating turmoil within.
She kept looking out without replying.
We drove around and stopped at our regular paratha joint, made our regular order of paratha and chai. I was quiet all this while, so was she. Words were never needed between us, but I wanted to say something, anything, to keep her from going home tonight and to Dubai eventually. It was way out of my character to make an effort, especially because my efforts had left me hurt and vulnerable before. She knew all about it, she was the one who used to listen to the sagas of my heartaches and heartburns later, at this very place, on these very roads.
Heartless and cold, time flies by when you want to sleep in its vicissitudes. I drove her to her home of 2 more days, silent despite my sinking heart.
“Will we catch up again before you leave?” I asked as she got out of the car.
“Not sure. I have a lot of errands to do before I leave”.
“Is there anything I can do to keep you from going?” I asked finally.
She caressed my face, a hint of mist in her eyes. “You have kept me long enough already”.
And that was the end of a story that could have been. I traverse around the same roads even now. They are beautiful like before, deserted and dreamy. But when the breeze brushes my hair and strokes the back of my neck, I have to admit, my mind races to the glitzy skylines of Dubai. Maybe I should visit her sometime. That would be way out of my character again, but some things are worth losing yourself.
I leave you with a not-so-famous, but lovely hindi song.