I have roving feet
On wings of lust
Kissing the waves
I taste dust
She traveled winter as the harsh fingers of the freezing wind stroked her contours with loving lust. Miles stretched the deserted ruins whenever she dreamed of a warm, cozy, inviting hearth. She survived bodily every whip lash of agony and estrangement that life inflicted on her. But her soul repulsed and recoiled from the thorny thistles of greed and hurt. She kissed shores to be pounded by tempestuous waves. The dark lines on her palms harnessed a tsunami. But she waded through cyclones, tramped through blizzards, undaunted; narrowly escaping the treacherous falls off hair pin bends. Her life was writ in ink of shame and shun. When I met her she was just a barren land mooning over past harvests.
The saree tied low, the hair tightened into a non-descriptive bun, her pale countenance was slightly coloured by the crimson lips a little smudged at the ends. Chewing a heavily dozed zarda paan she wedded silence in thirst for words languishing in her heart. Somebody whispered that she was a divorcee. Reason..?Adultery!! Her husband had caught her red handed with another man. Atrocious I thought. The whispers continued. She had the custody of the girl child but she pined for her son they said with malicious pleasure. And then followed the earth shattering revelation…The son resembled some body else.
I suffered a fatal attraction towards her. She symbolized the wrongs which were strangers in my land. The strangers tempted me to no end. Not that I craved to emulate her. But the blueprints of her life were, shadowed with murk, held the pull of the opposites for me. My ears twitched as soon as I heard even a pin drop of rumour about her. Her torrid affair with one of the top guns had all the ingredients of the romantically dangerous. The illegitimacy of the entente heightened its glamour. It was like a broad daylight robbery of chastity and piety. Bizarre figments of idle imagination lent riotous colours to vivid tales defying every fiber of ethics and righteousness.
And then suddenly one day it was all over…
Vacant months went by. Absenting from work quite frequently, she regained her chastity by abstinence. Somebody moaned her ill health. Some body else paid a visit to the “ailing nun”. She epitomized painful solitude. Surrounded by every comfort of life that money could possess, she lay in her bed clinging to the counterpanes, while the door bell resonated with shrill screams. There was nobody to open the door.
Ensued a season of dull quietude…
She was back to work. But now in a new avatar! She was going to be strangled in wed lock once more. The prospective bridegroom was also a divorcee with grown up children. After a while a few glossy snapshots did the rounds. She was shrouded in bereaved white while the groom looked equally mournful. The marriage was presided over by none other than her ex-beau. A shock wave left us numb. Was this the shore that she was hankering for so long? I wondered.
Not for long. Soon we were swept over by another grievous tiding. The marital bond was straining to the extent of frayed ends. Bouts of drunken abuse left her massacred once again. The solace was too obvious. A miasma of booze and brawn fogged her nights. I am sure there must have been more for the wagging tongues but I ceased to follow her tracks.
A much coveted transfer altered the cityscape for me…
Years followed in chasing my own desperate dreams. A few culminated into reality but most crumbled to dust. Then one fine day a long lost acquaintance brought in her tides quite unexpectedly. She was ill, very, very ill. Cancer she said with a woebegone look. I shuddered. There was nobody to take care of her. She was all alone…I asked the most dreaded question which shivered on my lips hesitant to slip out. Would she survive the losing battle? The answer trailed off in muted fear.
Faltering foot prints wore on the sands of time and I again lost touch of her…
Light years after somebody called up as though to infuse the air with wisps of bygone fragrances. Two laughter choked voices spent many an hour over reminiscences of those golden days when hearts were young, thoughts naive and aspirations novice. As I was about to put back the receiver in its cradle she exclaimed have you heard of her? No, I said what now? She has left the city and embraced the hills. Taken to the path of renunciation she said poorly stifling a snort. I sniggered back what happened to her string of beaus? Sold off like the Ferrari came the tongue-in-cheek reply.
A few days back somebody took her name again…
Today as I sit by the lonely brook and ruminate wistfully of those days she comes to my mind often. She chased a mirage as grains of sands tricked down unaware through the gaps between her fingers. The gold dust washed by the blaze of the day and scorch of the night turned from fire to ice and back. She was scalded and frozen alternately and at the same time. Lunging forward she must have tried to gulp down the moon. Her unquenchable thirst must have made her despair through the myriad gullies of life seeking for the ultimate, ideal dregs of wine that could immortalize her being. What she got in return was a quagmire of crunched hopes. The critics may call it a life of irrevocable blunders. But I choose to call it the wanderlust.