It was an ordinary day. I mean, there weren’t rainbows in the sky or an exceptionally large number of birds singing melodious songs to indicate that she would call that day. But she did anyway. Now, to be honest, the call wasn’t entirely a surprise.
“Why would she want my number if she had no intention of calling?” I had reasoned to myself quite a few times.
“Probably to make sure you make no more blank calls, you jackass!”, had come the answer from my own mind.
That sort of argument never has an end. Let’s move on.
Like I was saying, she had called. I won’t bore you with yet another conversation, but I can tell you it was fun. The little discomfort that had crept up at the end of our previous meeting was gone, and I was glad. No, I hadn’t miraculously discovered inner peace and turned into Master Shifu. It’s just that I was quite happy to put away those things to the back of mind, at least temporarily. And if that sounds weird to you, let me explain it this way: If I give you a bottle of Johnny Walker green in the evening, would you still cry over the cup of coffee that you spilled in the morning? So we talked, relaxed and carefree, like old friends talk. The kind of talk where you don’t even have a hint of a topic, and yet hours pass like minutes.
After we talked that day, I waited for a few days, not wanting to appear too eager. A few days after that, she called back. Thus a pattern emerged. None of us would make two consecutive calls. Actually, none of us had to. We alternately called each other every two or three days and talked for considerable lengths of time, annoying our parents a great deal.
We got along famously. This was odd, considering we had very few shared interests. She was a Hindi movie fanatic, always humming old songs as well as new, aware and ahead of all the current gossip, having a total recall of, as far as I could tell, all Hindi movies made since 1947. I, on the other hand, have never had much interest in Bollywood. Well, not till Deepika Padukone came along. Anyway, my ignorance was a source amusement to her, and quite often to me as well.
For example, say we’re talking over the phone, I’m well on my way explaining something to her, when she’d abruptly interrupt me and say, “wait wait, what was that from?”
What was what from, I’d ask.
“Arrey that song…” She’d hum a tune for a few seconds, which would sound no more familiar to me than some ancient Egyptian chant invoking their Sun God Ra would have.
“Er..I’m not sure.” I’d weakly offer.
“How can you not know this?? Listen again, it’s this one..” She’d hum again. Utterly tone-deaf that I am, this time it would sound entirely different to me. Different, but no more familiar than last time. By then, however, her database would kick in.
“Oh I remember! I remember!!” She’d squeal. “It’s that movie, featuring that pair, that director made it in that year.”
“Oh, that one..” I’d either make a pathetic effort at saving the day.
“Oh don’t pretend, you have no idea what I’m talking about, do you?” I could never get away with it.
I would try my best to defend myself, “well, no I haven’t seen it. I mean who the hell wastes time watching old Hindi movies anyway. Besides, if it was really any good, I would at least have heard of it.”
“Uncultured..” She’d mutter in disgust, making sure I could hear.
I loved it when she did that.
- The Road To Ithaca – 11 (thecleverdog.wordpress.com)
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- The Road to Ithaca – 8 (thecleverdog.wordpress.com)