Friday, December 18, 2009
Waning Moon (Part 2)
“Bloody HSBC didn’t select me!” She threw her file as she stormed in the house. He has just got up and was still groggy from last night’s booze.” HSBC? What happened?” He asked but she didn’t reply.
“They were looking for some dumb bimbette it seems! That’s why they took that small brained, big breasted bitch Sonia”
“Hey come on, they are still other companies” He said still trying to make sense of what was she saying. Her temper was really off the hook today.
“No there are not. HSBC is the last decent company visiting the campus this year” “I think it’s better to join a call centre and sleep with my boss now than sit for any placements in this college”.
“Come on it’s not that big a deal. You don’t know what you are saying”
“No IT IS a big deal. You don’t know what is happening. You should be last person to tell me this. Did you even bother to send your CV to the placement cell?”
She was after him since long to do that. She has asked, begged, shouted and everything in between at him to send his CV to the placement cell. But he always made some lame excuse to delay it further. Actually he didn’t want to send it. He would rather spend time writing a new song than writing his CV. Pragesh, Aditya and Varun weren’t sitting for placement either. He tried telling that too to her but she had screamed “That’s because they are rich spoilt brats and will live off their dad’s money. Not that they care about the band so much”.
But the MTV Campus Rock auditions were near. The jam sessions were going very good, everybody who had heard their sound said they really had a shot at it. One girl even compared him to Jim Morrison in their last gig in ‘Strawberry Fields’. He had dismissed it as sarcasm but he couldn’t sleep that night. It was now or never for them.
Annie’s hysterical shouting of his name had brought him back from his thoughts.
“Aby.. Aby.... Are you even listening to me? Did you send your CV to the placement cell?”
“Yes... I mean no.. I am mean yes I was.. But then I got stuck in my tenth standard percentage... I don’t remember it... I’ll calculate and put it today and send the CV to the P-Cell.”
“What? You haven’t sent it yet? From last two days you’ve been TPing and drinking with your friends. I haven’t seen you in the house. And you didn’t even find 15 minutes to complete your CV! Wow!”
“Hey.. I wasn’t doing TP or anything. We were jamming. Then I just went out with them for a drink. The band ought to hang out there. We need some cohesion if we are gonna tide over this. And the band needs to be on same page musically ...”
“The band, the band, the band. It’s that all in your life? Do you even care about me anymore?”
“Of course I do. But you have been after my life for this thing. And my band...” “Again you band... Your life... Do you even know what is going on in my life? Dad had called last night. He made it thoroughly clear that if I don’t get a good job after college they are going to marry me. They have even finalized a guy”
“What? You didn’t tell me... But why ... I mean they can’t...” He was too shell shocked and scatter brained to make any sense.
“That’s because you weren’t home to tell. I have been crying in my room alone since last night. That’s why I messed up my interview today.”
“Hey I didn’t know. I am sorry. Listen tell him about us. Tell him how much we love each other. Tell him that our band is about to take off. In a few years we might even start headlining concerts. And then...”
“And then what? Then what Aby? The guy he has picked out for me is earning a six figure salary. He is about to go abroad and wanted to marry me before that is finalized. And you are playing at gigs where no one is willing to give six rupees to listen to you. What should I tell my dad?”
“Hey that’s really uncalled for. Let me talk to your dad”
“Talk to him and say what? Tell him that your only accomplishment in life is that you play the best guitar in the college and you made his stupid daughter fall in love with you? You need a job, something more worthwhile than your stupid guitar”.
“Didn’t you love my guitar? Wasn’t this the guitar on which I played “Do I have to say the words” that made you shout out in front of everyone “I love you”? Wasn’t it this stupid guitar?”
“Yes. And you know what my dad is gonna say? He is gonna say that even if you sell this piece of junk guitar you won’t be able to get so much money that Rajeev Thomas makes in a day”
“Well your dad is an idiot then”
“Hey don’t say anything about my dad”
“And you don’t say anything about my guitar.” He said pushing her. She had tottered back and hit the guitar. In a fit of fury she kicked it and it made a loud sonorous sound as it crashed on the ground. The headstock twisted. That was it for him. He raised his hand in anger.
“Go on, hit me” she demanded with voiced drowned in sobs “That was all that was remaining to happen between us. But remember that I am dead for you now. You heard me. DEAD”
This was 8 years ago exactly this day. He couldn’t remember the time. It was over too soon as love, hope and promises came crashing down with that Guitar. A lifetime over in a moment.
“Akshay. Akshay.” She repeated twice to snap him out of his thoughts. “You still keep getting lost in your thoughts. So what else? Married? Any kids?”
“No. Not married. What about you?” “Ya. Married. Been seven years now. No kids. Sorry didn’t invite you for the wedding. It was so sudden and I didn’t have any contact info of you. You also didn’t even call once since... since...”
“I did once”, he said getting the meaning of ‘since’ “To tell you that I got through IIM Bangalore. But you sister picked up the phone, she told me you were getting married in a few days and also never to call again”
“Oh sorry. That was so rude of her. I didn’t know. But IIM B? Wow. That is so cool. You must be big shot now”
“Seven years and no children?” He quickly asked to change the subject, giving his signature quizzing lop sided smile. He didn’t want to talk about his getting into IIM B. About the toil; the blood, sweat and tears and mostly his reason of getting in.
“Yes. It’s a long story” She sighed
“I am not going anywhere soon” he said sitting down diagonally away from her and signalling her to do the same.
“Akshay my baby died in childbirth. The doctors told me they could only save one of us and they chose me. And also that I will never be able to deliver anymore. I was never going to be a mother again. And Rajeev never a father as long as he is married to me.” She spit out almost as if this was choking her.
“Oh I am so sorry. I didn’t know otherwise I would have never...” “Yes we all are.” She said with a tear forming in the corner of eyes.
“So you are in India for....?” He quickly again tried to change the topic.
She swallowed a lump in her throat and said”Today was my dead child’s birthday and death anniversary. I came to put flowers on his grave”
Akshay started trembling and blurted out “Then how come Rajeev, I mean your husband isn’t here?” “That’s because he doesn’t want to be reminded of it. That’s why we left India. He wants to be distanced away from everything that reminds him of his dead son, including me”
“Look I didn’t mean to... I am sorry... I really had no clue...” He was really at a loss of words once more in his life as he put his hand in his pocket to take out a handkerchief to wipe her flowing tears.
“How could you know? I am sorry. I don’t say all this to anyone. I don’t know why it all came out in front of you” she said regaining her composure and wiping the tears on her face.
“It’s ok.. I mean... I am sorry.. I.. Never Mind”
“So any girlfriends” She asked sitting up, she had really sunk in the chair. “And how many since me? Be honest”
“No. None since. I think this boring hair style and this cheap suit have managed to keep the women away” he said while running his hand through his hair.
She let out a chuckle. “Come on, you look better in these hair than the tresses you had back then. But seriously no girl from past so many years?” “The girl I loved died”
And there was a deafening silence between them for a moment, a moment far too long.
“Didn’t you know that Princess Diana died?” He said cracking up.
Annie hit him with his magazine. “You still have your sick sense of humour” permitting herself a laugh.
An airline girl spoke in her typical airline prep school accent announcing that plane was about to start boarding. They both got up.
“Phew... Finally. I think I was gonna stain the seat with my suit by sitting on it for so long” Akshay quipped.
“You really haven’t changed a bit since I saw you. And you have done really well for yourself” she said laughing as she got up to board.
“Yes probably”, he said. “I just don’t play the guitar anymore” and walked off to get his ticket changed to another flight.
It was almost morning; the sun had almost killed the moon.