Archive | 3:18 pm

‘Cause If You Like It, Then… [i]

16 Aug

Once upon a time, on a balmy February evening in Pondicherry, a couple years ago, a Boy and his girl walked over to a candle-lit courtyard for a meal. They had taken a quick trip from Bombay, zoomed around on a rented bike all weekend and wanted to make their last evening special. It was a sweet and intimate time that had begun with a disagreement and involved lots of making up. It was just them and the Southern sun, whitewashed walls and bougainvillea, incense and long walks, and the curious sense of home that the girl always found amidst it all.

Struggling to see under the not-so-bright stars and ineffective candlelight, they tucked into a meal of Creole mutton curry, coastal fish and some forgettable dessert. There were few other diners that night and they held hands and talked quietly. Dinner over, they strolled back through silent lanes, the crash of the waves a reminder that the blue bay was only one street east.

The girl, greedy thing, had consumed one helping too many and she staggered toward their hotel room, mumbling about how stuffed she was.  Let’s sit by the sea for a while, the Boy suggested, taking her arm to guide her. An explanation about fresh air being helpful followed. I’m feeling sick, she whined, her gills spewing curry, I want to go back. And with that, she quickened her pace, leaving him a few steps behind.

Then I guess I’ll just have to do it here, she heard him say, and tried to fashion a suitable question over her shoulder. But curry can rapidly seep into one’s brain, dulling all senses, and dessert delivers the master stroke. She stopped outside a bright blue door. All was calm, but not bright. It wasn’t Christmas and she certainly wasn’t Mary. Her brain registered a lack of sound. She felt his presence behind her and turned around to face him. He was gone.

(To be continued…)