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lather (standard:romance, 3412 words)
Author: Shamoil AhmadAdded: Apr 11 2010Views/Reads: 791/293Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Relations may wither...they do not die
 



Lather Shamoil Ahmad 

It was just a chance meeting with her, on the road.... 

And just as the water in the puddle gets dirty the moment you put your
foot on it, the same way... 

In the same  way the color of her face underwent a change. She was taken
aback by my sudden appearance before her, and so was I...nearly forcing 
me to ejaculate, "oh, you..." or words to that effect. She dragged the 
hem of her sari to her nape with an intent to cover it, I stole a 
furtive glance at her...she was certainly at that stage of her life 
where women first try to conceal the emerging wrinkles around their 
neck...from the withering complexion of her face and from the attire 
she was wearing, I quickly observed that she was not very happily 
placed. Her chapel too seemed old and worn out and did not match the 
color of her sari. Toe portion of her chapel had completely lost its 
original color and shape because of constant use. It then occurred to 
me that I was better placed than she at that moment and it sort of made 
me happy to see that I was better off than she, or that I was sort of 
happy to see her in this discomfort. My being happy at her lot was 
certainly not in good taste, but I could not help realizing that the 
relationship that could not fructify between me and her— the pangs of 
unfulfilled love—had left some fire still crackling within me for the 
last twenty years. 

It appeared to me that she was reading my mind. She once again
straightened the hem of her sari over her  shoulder, and greeted me 
with a smile that seemed wan like a dry leaf fallen from a tree...she 
had enquired of me if I lived in this town...to this I had responded 
with the nod of head in affirmative and hurled back the same query on 
her. She too had responded with the nod of her head. As she nodded 
‘yes’, she betrayed on her face sign of an unspecified pain. Perhaps, 
she was not ready for this kind of unexpected meeting; or may be she 
did not think it proper that I should know about her living in this 
town. As for me, I did not find it wholly unexpected...I’ll readily 
admit that I had always been inquisitive about her all these 
years...where she lived...how is she...or how good was her married 
life...? 

Relations may wither....they do not die... 

Speechless, she was twisting the hem of her sari and I too was silent. I
was baffled at my own silence. At least, we could have been doing some 
formal talking...like questions about home....about children...but my 
lips were sealed and she too remained silent...then it occurred to me 
that I should invite her to a cup of tea in a restaurant nearby; but 
thought, perhaps she will not like it. 

In fact, restaurant is my weakness...if I happen to meet any friend
somewhere on the road, I definitely make one such proposal. Seated in a 
half-lit corner of a quality restaurant, joy of sipping tea while 
talking is immense. But we had continued to be silent in the middle of 
the road. Standing in the middle of the road without any purpose looked 
really very odd...perhaps I am making a wrong statement here...the fact 
of the matter is—standing there silently in this manner was actually 
producing a pleasant feeling. 

May be, I thought, she was passing through some kind of a depression;
but when on an occasion or two she looked up towards me, I thought she 
too was keen to spend some time with me. It was then that I had alluded 
to restaurant. She had not given immediate consent. First she looked 
around, almost stealthily. She had smiled softly and had queried as to 
where she had to go. I had then hurriedly indicated towards a 
restaurant that was close by. 

We went to the restaurant. There was an unoccupied table in one of the
corners. On being seated, I observed that although there was no sign of 
depression on her face, yet she seemed to be somewhat diffident. In the 
meantime, as I straddled my feet under the table, I touched upon 
hers...it was not done intentionally...but I remembered having once 
done that in the past. 

Those were the early days then when buds would sprout; fragrances had
missives contained therein and the waves in the river would lead to the 


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