Tag Archives: summer

Untouchable.

The soft silk of her skin touched the rough brash of his hardened skin and her whole life realigned for her.

Don’t touch people like him, her mother had told her. You’d have to have a bath again, honey. She hated baths, so she went out of her way to avoid him. She tried not to catch him while playing run and catch, and tried not to find him while playing hide and seek. She would see the smile on his face falter everytime she did that.

The next summer she’d forgotten all about him, till he peeped into her window and called her ‘Miss’ and bowed, grinning. She looked at him awkwardly, but grinned back nonetheless. She didn’t understand why she couldn’t touch him- he looked like her, only a shade or two darker. This summer, he climbed trees and plucked out flowers for her.

The summer after that, she went away to a hill station, and the next summer, she went off to a camp, and after that she had broken her leg, so she couldn’t go back to her parent’s native.

When she went three summers later, she was sixteen and he was eighteen, and she had a vague memory of a boy who plucked out flowers for her and whom she wasn’t allowed to touch, and whose smile faltered every time she’d go out of her way to not touch.
She sat in her room with her cousins when he entered and bowed. One of her cousins asked him to join them and he drew out a mat and sat separately. They played cards and carrom, and Atlas and charades. Every time they locked eyes, he grinned at her and she looked away in embarrassment. Later, it was just her, him, and one of her cousins whom he was close friends with. Her cousin teased her relentlessly and he laughed at her with him.
The next day he came back and when he sat down, she scowled at him, unforgiving of yesterday’s jokes. Your best friend isn’t here, she said in mock-bitterness. You’re enough, he said as he winked at her. Her other cousins didn’t treat him with much respect. He got up and left before lunch.
The next day Arjun sat next to him, and he was at ease once again. This time he sat till late at night and the three of them laughed till they clutched their stomachs.
This time she knew she wouldn’t forget him.

The next summer, when she came back, he was away in college the first two weeks. She couldn’t wait, and bothered Arjun more than it was acceptable. And when he was back, there was a bounce to her gait, and her smile was broader, and her laugh more livelier. Now every night the three of them sat up till later than it was acceptable and she returned his every bow with a curtsey of her own. Every night she’d want to ask him to stay over, but she knew it wasn’t her place. So every night, as the clock struck 10, he’d walk through the dark streets and begin his hike towards his house a kilometer away. A couple of days later, when she asked him to give Arjun a missed call, as soon as he reached home, she earned a guffaw from Arjun, and a grin from him. How about giving you a missed call, Miss? he asked her with a wink. And that’s how they exchanged numbers.

The next Summer, she went on a tour up to Kashmir with her friends, but they continued texting each other, especially during the weeks she was supposed to be with them. Your cousins are humorless, Miss, he said.
Stop calling me Miss, sir, she replied.
No, Miss 😉 was his text.
Don’t be a tosser, sir.
Whatever you say, Miss.
Stop calling me Miss is what I say, sir!

The summer after that, when her mum wanted her to go to Europe to explore colleges for post grad, she requested her to let her go back. There’s a year left to think about that mum, she’d said.
This time was his last Summer, and when he’d told her he was planning to move to the States, she’d almost called him and yelled at him. I’ve won a scholarship to North Carolina, he’d said.
This time the two of them sat up later than Arjun did, earning scowls from her other relatives. He told her about his dreams of entrepreneurship, and she hers of spending a summer as a street poet. He laughed at her anecdotes and she at his stupid jokes. And as the summer drew to an end, they’d promised to meet each other at the other end of the world- vastly different from this small village, where the streets, like the practices and dreams of its villagers, are dark, ancient, and nameless.

So when five Summers later, she was in New York, for her PhD in Comparative Literature, he was there to welcome her to his world. And when they shook hands for the very first time, in a little awkward gesture, she welcomed him to her world, with a little street poem in his memory. And when he asked her to come over to his house every weekend for lunch, she made it. And when she spent a summer in the streets of New York, he was her last customer every day, at exact 10 PM. And when he had his first baby, she was there to help him and his wife. And when she thought she had everything in life, he called her out with Whatever you think is right, Miss.

Twitter: @WallflowerBlack

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Birthdays

It was, but two summers ago
The peak of my social awkwardness,
When you walked in, like you do
Just out of a messy friendship,
I sat and watched. What else was to do?

You, in your white shirt and tailor-made navy blue trousers
Looking like a teenage dream that I’d dreamt all my existence
Didn’t need to open a thousand browsers
To figure out my emotions

Like a hurricane it hit me
Was it the smell of your obviously expensive perfume?
Or was it my pituitiary gland taking over?
Making me a puddle of nervous exhilaration

Maybe it was that you looked like my ideal fictional hero-
A Darcy, no less
In your impeccable English
And your honey-dripping melodies
You entangle me, unbeknownst to you.

And today, behind the illusory beautiful forever
A facebook notification tells me it’s your birthday
A momentary lapse in my controlled existence
You remind me I am not through

Today, as I reached newer heights
I am sure it’s because of you
Forcing illusory associations
Between your birthday and my happy news
So much so, that even when my arch enemy
Flies with me, I ignore her.

My temporary euphoria, I relate to you
Stupid, mindless, crush that you are
Who transports me to two summers back
When things were not quite right
But the memories of you
Enough to bright up my bubble of life
As if you’re the Disneyland
To my princess-y fantasy.


Summers.

The smell of filter coffee and the hissing of the idli cooker woke her up. Home away from home. Where none of her devices seem to work. Internet was out of question, and the anxiety resulting from that was pounding in her chest. She does her little morning ritual of checking Whatsapp messages, and scrolling through her facebook homepage, trying really hard to stretch her hand in weird positions to get internet connectivity. She realizes there is no point of it here and quickly goes to the front yard– the verandah– to brush her teeth, where five different people try to engage in small talk with her, while she has paste in her mouth. She tries to smile at them, frowning internally hoping they’d get the hint, but also not get offended.

It had been her recluse since childhood- summers in her native. The constant she had never really realized. Through every move her parents had decided for her-new cities, new schools, new friends- the only constant was the Summers in her native. It was weird, really, how she didn’t understand why she was dragged to this place while the rest of her friends were in camp, or partying, or having road trips. She never really understood why she had to come here for a month, especially when she’d just gotten together with her first boyfriend. How can I live without talking to him for a month, she wondered. It angered her when her second boyfriend cheated on her the summer after that with that bitch she’d always hated. She blamed her parents for the fun she’d missed over the summers, as she’d blamed them for all the rashes and the condition of her hair after each summer.

It eluded her, as it eluded anybody her age, when one particularly important Summer when she was forced to come to this place, when it was time for another big move. She’d have rather spent the last couple of weeks with these friends she was sure were for life, and that crush she’d hoped would turn into something bigger. But no! Summers back home was what her parents wanted and it was exactly what she got.

But somewhere along the way, she grew up. And so did all her cousins. She wasn’t sure how far she could tread with them- was it okay to tell them she’s dating? Was it okay to tell them she’s had alcohol? Weed? Was it okay to joke about how she’d rather be a lesbian, because there’s only one guy in her class of 50? But she did, and it was okay. They laughed at all the right places and for the right reasons, and it was alright. They had had their laughs and Summers had just gotten brighter.

But this summer, it was different. She was too aloof. There was too much work she’d left behind and there was just no internet. Her guide was going to kill her. She had 3 conferences to prepare for and 30 undergraduate essays to check before she left. All her friends were cussing her because it’s been 3 years since she’s been away and she ran off to her native before she met them.

She was a bit confused, but she knew that if she didn’t come back here now, she just won’t be happy. She couldn’t live with the nagging sensation every summer brought with it-how could she tell her cousins that they would have to plan the reunion without her? How could she tell them that she couldn’t let her dream internship go, while one of their parents passed away? How could she tell them that yes, she wanted to come back, but just couldn’t afford it?

So, when the smell of filter coffee and the hissing of the idli cooker woke her up, she was happy to get over the stupid jetlag. She was happy to that there would be no emails, no Whatsapp, no Facebook to disturb the peace she always got here. She was happy to be home.