sometimes over tea, generally alone, i think of Bharti. she lived with her sister in whose house i lived as a paying guest.she would get me tea at 2 in the morning as i studied for some useless engineering exam the next day. she would wash off the stubborn stains off my filthy boot cut. she would steal for me the latest dark brown lipstick from her sister's little vanity shop so i could drape that and rush off for the many escapades of a young woman at the threshold of her third living decade .... movies, boyfriends, rock band etc. she even took me to meet a stubborn friend requiring tender lovin care at 10 pm rainy july bangalore night. cooked the dosas with minimal oil as i liked. kept the last piece of tasteless sponge cake from the local bakery for my saturday elevences. she cried when i did when boyfriends were dumped and i felt more the victim. she laughed when i laughed over some silly stuff playing on the TV. she loved me. i knew it then. sometimes i wondered if she were a closet lesbian. i was so mad back then, i flirted with the very idea too. it would have been neat if i were. how i discovered i wasn't is another story.back then i needed her, but dint love her. she knew that too. and one day, when "better sense" prevailed in my final year i moved out of the place where i lived for almost 2 years, to a college hostel. where i did my own bidding. where i dint really miss Bharti. where one day she same to meet me just as the hostel gate would shut at dusk to protect the modesty of the chaste (if there were any) young women. she came sat with me, got me dosas she made with no oil, a half sponge cake and the latest Maybelline cognac brown. then she cried. and i was restless with guilt i tried to smother. she left. i met her once or twice after that in the good old Yelahanka town/village/no description, call what you may, where i would go on the weekend to get the instant noodle packs, coz the hostel dosas were cholestrol breads and idlis too sour for my liking really. she would ask me out for coffee at sharavati, the best south indian joint that little place boasted of. Bharti never said no to me. I hardly said yes to most of her bidding. i finished my course, moved to another bustling big city, picked up another boyfriend . things dint work out with him either. did my resume a favor and did some more studies. got serious about life. got married. went to the US. came back. moved cities. yeah i keep moving. got fancy jobs. still do them. last when i went to Yelahanka, the old PG house was locked. there was no one there. i dont know of Bharti's whereabouts. she was 28 when i was 20. hope she is married now. hope she has a loving spouse. some brats to swat around.
as i am sitting by the big window of this undescribed room of a row house where i shall be moving out of tomoro, i am unwittingly thinking of her, and suddenly realizing , that if i met Bharti today, i would love here back, offer her some tea and keep reading a useless book as she would most likely have sat next to me and thought of the next wonderful mundane thing to run for me. wherever you are, i refuse to shrink that shadow of ur existence. not anymore. you are larger than that. sometimes dear girl you are even larger than life. stay happy