remember, remember, 5th of november!

Come on you raver, you seer of visions, come on you painter, you piper,
You prisoner, and shine! - Shine on You Crazy Diamond, Floyd

As close to first crush, as I dare call it! If a nine year old is capable of a thing called “crush”! He was one of my real get away from all things mundane. Others, being spinning of yarns and chasing sparrows and ants!
The reminiscing me!
Everything else was fairly mundane. Mundane not in harmonious way, mundane of a family, which comes, from being under threat of being impoverished entirely. Mundane, which arises out of necessity of, economizing everything, from finances to playtime activities to words. The insipid lifestyle, which heavily borrows from the reality of being a refugee in one’s own ancestral country, is not really a fertile soil to tend young minds. But, hey, this isn’t a complain log! In fact, there really isn’t anything to complain of, perspectives, you see!
I do digress, a lot, don’t I? *smile* guilty as charged!
My very first memory of him dates back to times, when he used to whoop up the frail lil me, in the air! And, get those “Morton” Toffees for me! Quite hazy, though!
He would come home once in a while! Have a blast for a while and good byes! Never an overnight stay. Maybe, it wasn’t allowed at his place. Maybe, he had other things to do. All the insistence of mom and dad wouldn’t make him stay.
Slowly, I began to be treated more on an equal stands. Toffees would still be part of the deal. But no more air throws. No more hold my hand and cross the streets. He would talk to me like grown ups. I was the only one to be treated to his guitar strumming and the Kurt Cobainish voice. Though, even my toddler mind thought he was better at drums then the strings.
Eventually, it came to a point that I began waiting for his visits and would pick up the best of the three frocks for those visits.
The visits increased in frequency. I was proud of the fact. Proud, that he talked to me the things he said, he wouldn’t share with lots of people! Proud, that this increase in frequency maybe had something to do with me. Proud, also of the fact, that I was one of the closet to him.
So, by the time, I was 10 years old, i knew in my heart of hearts that he is the kind of person, I am very comfortable with. My shyness would just bunk at the mere sight of him. He would compliment me profusely on everything. Treat me like a friend!
Does a 11 year old know what it is to be treated with a respect and love and like a woman? I don’t really know. Maybe, all of us innately know and react accordingly! Maybe, its too genetically engineered to even try and find the meanings.
And, then slowly, he got busy building a life and standing for himself. Settling down as they call it!
By the time, I celebrated my 14th birthday. Our association trickled to occasional phone calls or news from other relatives.. etc.

Then he got married! I grew up. Family grew up. With different set of priorities encroached my teenage and early 20s. We couldn’t even make for his wedding. He did get his wife to meet us. Nice girl. Somehow, I couldn’t really relate to him anymore. The talks were no more there. Mere polite weather kind conversations.
And, no, I didn’t find myself, heart broken or any thing dramatic like that. In fact, there was just no remorse. Just nothing. Not even as much as hindsight.
And, one day, he shows up generally. We happen to be alone in the living room for good 10 minutes. The words, “it was so different back then…” and the wistful (???) look still reverberate in these memory halls.
Ah well, one off incident, isn’t the valley of life, so full of such shrubs?
Pan out! Fade off!
Cut to 2002, a day after my birthday. I get a fax at work saying:
“He was shot from point blank range over a work related dispute!”
My first thoughts are: Oh my god, he has a three year old daughter!!
Someday, we might get a chance to complete those unfinished sentences. The one off shrub could have been a tree. Maybe. Maybe Not! However, for now, a very happy birthday!
And, nope… I never shed a tear for you. I wouldn’t!

Copyright © Neerja Yadav

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