As for me, I am a thirty-two year old spinster, living alone in my eleventh floor apartment. And if you too think that I need a physical fitness program, let me tell you that I get enough by beating around the bush, by jumping to conclusions, by going round in circles and by running down my boss! Who wants more?
I work as a Personal Assistant for an only one-of-its-kind boss in a non-government medical organization funded by the United Nations. My favourite colours are grey and blue. That is primarily because my surroundings are always grey and my mood is ever blue. My loneliness has turned me into… one of those antique mechanical alarm clocks – ringing whenever I am set to and ticking away my duties until I am re-wound. That’s ‘me’ in the shortest possible description.
However, for a moment it was like a dream – an illusion dressed up as reality. I had began to feel the inner self, that had been enshelled for thirty-two long years. I felt like a queen – a free bird; as if, I could even breathe under water.
All these happened when he came into my life.
"Hello beautiful madam. I am new here. Can you please direct me to a nearest hotel?" were the very first words the handsome gentleman spoke to me from within his ivory white Honda. "Hey! Can’t you big-mouthed fools stop making fun of others on road?" was my snapping reply. Do not be surprised. That would have even been your reply had you been like me – a four feet tall woman, weighing over seven-dozen-kilos, and with a complexion that is indistinguishable from one’s own shadow.
Nevertheless, why I got up in his car, why I lunched with him, why I laughed at every word he said, why I fell in love with him, I do not know. The only thing I know is that I can never disbelieve those innocent eyes whenever he said, "You are so beautiful! I can see it; no matter what the world says" He had made me believe things that I was not allowed to believe. He was the one who gave me the courage to look up at myself and beyond.
It was at the Puffs’, last Monday. We had just occupied a table and had called the waiter. An elderly gentleman was sitting next to us and a group of schoolboys were occupying the group-table behind us. I ordered three Cream Chronicles and he ordered one Irish Coffee. I knew that even one person could not easily gulp down an entire Chronicle. Think of three together! The immediate response was a unanimous hoot from the next table. That was ok. I was used to those. But not he. Before I could say a word, already two of the boys were wriggling on the ground.
At that point of my life, I needed nothing but him. Without him, I had decided to quit life itself. Quit? Huh! Perhaps, my castle had become too huge for the air alone to support. Everything ended so drastically that I would shudder to recollect those bitter memories.
That evening the police knocked my door and arrested him. They did not explain anything and neither did he look up into my eyes. He departed like any other guilty soul.
That was not it! I needed an explanation. A concrete explanation. The inspector could give me none. Thus, I boarded the next flight to Mumbai and was not surprised to find his mother at the address he had once given to me. My belief of his innocence could not prove itself otherwise.
His mother had something else to say: “This is not the first time that my son has caused an inconvenience. Maybe it was our misfortune or maybe the misdeeds of our previous life that I gave birth to a mentally unbalanced son. Strange is his attraction towards the other side of beauty. What seems. grotesque to us seems gorgeous to him”
“Time succumbed to the idea of healing. He grew up to be an educated man and with God’s blessings; his business earned him more than what any common man needed. But, his ways of life proved fatal for him. On more than one occasion, he was misunderstood for passing compliments to undeserving individuals. Then those days arrived when his obsession turned into passion. And we stood helpless to help him.
“Late though, but we finally decided to consult a psychiatrist. He was then admitted to a rehabilitation centre, away from home and society, in Delhi. Months passed and it seemed that the Almighty had no will to amend His constitution. We did go to visit him once every week. Gradually, once a week turned to once a month and then to once a year. We had lost everything, except the faith in God.
“Last month, he fled from his rehabilitation centre. What happened since then is more known to you, than to us. And surely, you don’t consider yourself so unlucky that you would spend the rest of your life with such a person. You are educated and earning handsomely. You would certainly get someone better.
A drop of tear and a little smile on my face was all the better I could get. Unlucky? I am perhaps too lucky to be loved by him. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.
I resumed my daily schedule except that a new weekly trip to Delhi was added. Now, every time I meet him, I wonder if there could be a big enough rehabilitation centre to house the entire world.