In the past 15 minutes, I had covered the lengths of his rather small garden at least 12 times. I would have preferred to sit down of course but there wasn’t much I could do in this case. I was wearing a pair of shorts, and I am sure even in all my free time, I couldn’t possibly have counted all the mosquitoes near the door of her house. The only place which had amounted up sitting place made out of granite.
The downpour was slow, but there were no signs of it stopping completely. Anjali, the friend I had gone out for dinner with was ranting about her ex-boyfriend the whole time. Like how the first time, they kissed, it was under a huge tree, and he was scared the whole time about being spotted. ‘Bloody faggot,’ he wouldn’t even let me change my clothes in the same room together. I just smirked. He has been taking Spanish classes for a group of teenagers somewhere in Rohini all this while. He dares not come near South Delhi.
The ashtray in front of us was already full. We had smoked some 8 cigarettes. If this was not a rooftop restaurant, our food would have surely been spoiled with all the smoke around us. I remember the last time; I met my uncle, who boasted proudly about how people aren’t allowed to smoke in public spaces at all in the old country. He had only recently moved back to India with his family, after working about 20 years as an engineer in Kuwait. ‘Delhi is better’, my dad was almost always adamant with his statements. ‘Jo Delhi me Milega, wo Kuwait me kahan? Bhaisahab, parathas to yahin ke aache hote hain!’ (You’ll not get what you get in Delhi, back in Kuwait. The parathas are always the best here)
There is a certain sense of pride in everyone who has ever lived in Delhi. Whether it be the South of Delhi, where only the elite live or the noisiest and student occupied North Delhi. A hub of cheap food, liquor, and everything else.
Anjali and I weren’t any exceptions either obviously. Lying, endlessly about our lives. From the kind of cafes, we go to, to how our fathers own Luxury car brands. There is just an endless parade of lies hidden in a cabinet, only waiting for their right occasions. Then there are other constants like there would be days, when I would just walk out from my home at 11 in the night, to get kulfi at the local store nearby. Somehow, the vendor always has things to talk about. Last night, he reminded me how the GST had gone down to 5% and I shouldn’t let the high-end pretentious cafes fool me. And on others, he would tell me stories about the security guard who has probably gone for a cigarette or for a quickie with one of the transgenders, that lean on the walls in a small lane towards the left of the ATM, that the security guard watches over.
Anyway. The rain has stopped now and he is not still not here yet. I wish he could see me right now. Like this. Wet. My hair all messed up. Irritated really.
Anjali said, that the only time, her ex-boyfriend and she really went all out, the boy came too early. Boy, what a shame! I could see that she wanted to ask me about my own sex life. About how gay sex really works, and how much does anal sex really hurt. She muttered some words, but stopped in between, if only for another puff out of the 11th cigarette. This conversation was never brought up again.
My uncle, who was surely in his late sixties now, had his own take towards my sexual preferences
‘Baat to same hai beta. Ye Hole ya vo. Maje hain tumhare. Baache ki daar nahi.’
(It’s the same thing son. This hole or another. You have all the fun since you don’t even have to worry about kids)
It cracks me up every time.
I can hear a car stopping at a slight distance now. It’s been exactly 45 minutes, and my pedometer says that I have walked over 10k steps in this small garden already. It doesn’t matter really.
He looks at me once, smiles apologizes right there and then, without any words.
There was once a time when I wanted to be a poet, a writer of some sorts. Right now, when I look at his face, and my legs are weak, I wish I could really write any poetry at all. I try.
Your smile is like dew drops on rose petals
Falling straight into my hair
It’s all messed up……………..
We are finally inside our tiny little home, the keys that I forgot at home today, are lying on the kitchen floor, exactly like I remember.
From porcelain artifacts to beautiful lights in our terrace, we have it all. Maintaining this South Delhi aura around us. For once,
Keep our secrets, here safely, within stories of this ugly old city.
But fuck this story,
I look up straight in the mirror and then at him.
There is hot water running in the shower
He enters slowly.
Naked. Examining if the water is exactly at the right temperature.
He waits. And I must go.