Well! It looked like a shiny, slimy slip of a black string which wriggled in space in well-crafted curves. I could have gone on and on admiring the smart choreography of graceful dalliance but to my surprise it changed shape in a split of a second (and I am sure I hadn’t blinked even once). And lo dancing before my eyes was a slippery strip of a reptilian beauty its sleek tongue sticking in and out thirsty of a venomous sting. I missed the hiss, which I was so sure, had somehow got diffused in the atmosphere before my plucky ears could pick up. To hell with the hiss I said and rubbed my eyes immediately realizing the unpardonable blunder that I had committed.
It wasn’t a string or a sly poisonous charger. Oh! How could I not figure out as soon as I saw it…the imbecile that I was! It was her long, silky tresses tamed in a neat straight ponytail which oscillated like a pendulum as she leaped in air from one cloud to the other, her Ninjah pants flapping about while her lithe, well-gymned body took the speed of light. Who said fragile couldn’t lit a spark, gather lightening momentum or ignite a colossal incendiary havoc!!!
But hey! What’s the hurry? In answer I got a tumbled cart of green vegetables which she had carelessly toppled over in her hurricane tour of the narrow lane where the Saturday Bazaar was just about settling down for a weekly affair of rowdy haggle. The old man in a “latticed” gunjee and once-upon-a-time-white dhoti was cursing her loudly while trying his level best to straighten the cart. His young nephew was gathering the spread overs. But she seemed oblivious to the pandemonium she had caused behind.
Gosh! She did seem to be in a mighty hurry! A few strands of hair had escaped the tidy knot and was swirling around her delicate face giving her that roughed up edge which always succeeded in arousing the male frenzy. Yet even in her hurry and scurry she presented that least-made-up-look which she always effortlessly managed on-screen or on the covers of glossy, glitzy, gossipy mags. I eyed her understated, well-cut, elegant attire – a nice sky-grey with black broad borders at the end of a pair of long sleeves and the daintily overlapping lapels round her thin, bony neck. A slight twitch of envy…was I going green?
The loose shirt was tied round her size zero waist by a black belt of the same texture – soft, well-spun yet lacking the exclusivity of a bourgeoisie haute-couture. She was one amongst all yet stood apart!!
She levitated like a bird poised for a distant flight and hovered in air for some time before swooping down to take the marble steps two at a time. The energetic climb delivered her right on top of the broad landing, where the steps ended and the glass door stood wide open, ushering in the daily passengers inside the concourse. Having stood squarely for a while in the midst of the flowing crowd she prepared for her next move. But before plunging forward she looked over her shoulder as though sizing up her chasers. Oh! Now I could guess the reason behind her dashing detours….what else but the nosy paparazzi? And before I could be smug about my superior intellect she had slid through the glass door and entered the Metro in a flash of a second. Needless to say I followed but not before losing my way midst the jostling ordinariness. Of all the means of transportation she had to choose this mediocre mode meant for the milling middle class!!! I almost spluttered in disgust. Is that you speaking? I asked myself. Or the snooty snob cleverly camouflaged under a down-to-earth-façade, who’d inwardly prefer, a million times over, not to rub shoulders with the cattle class? The answer was ready on my lips but somebody nudged me hard at this point. I looked back but could not catch the miscreant. Oh! I was missing something. It was just one of those inexplicable intuitive impulses which made me spin around on the nick of time. And before I could say zebra the silver caterpillar had swished in. The doors opened noiselessly to gulp in the regular, unruly throng of daily commuters. A few seconds, and the doors were just about to close shut, and I say just about, when a streak passed me by and slipped inside the Metro like a bolt of lightning through the narrow crevice that a closing door allows before shutting up its mouth with that inexorable air of finality. And the next moment the doors did slid shut with a soft thud.
Phew that was a narrow escape…..!!!! I wondered, not for the first or last time, why she had to take those mighty risks. Was she running against time? Or that confounding escape from one’s own self which we all tend to indulge in once, no, most of the times, in life? Celebs and their idiosyncrasies I muttered audibly and could have gone on with my endless conjectures had it not been this faceless voice breathing down my neck startling me from my reverie…
“Katrina Kaif…” said she slurping on the name honouring the alphabet ‘K’.
As though I didn’t know, I snorted
“Well, they are way above the mundane….so what’s she doing amidst the rut?” I mused
“Aah!” said the voiceover, “There’s a reason…”
“What reason?” My curiosity got the better of me.
“D-I-A-M-O-N-D-Z-Z-Z” The zzzz trailed on like those fearsome echoes the intruding footfalls of the tourists leave behind within the ancient, mossy walls of abandoned, heritage tombs raising the dead from the other world.
“Diamonds? Where?” I looked about
“No! No!” She clucked, “She has it on her person…Hidingggg…” The secret was let out in such a formidable whisper I was sure the sound was loud enough to explode into the prickly ears of the SHO commanding the nearest Police Chowkee.
Oh! Diamonds on her person hidden somewhere under those well-tailored lapels! So that was the reason behind all that hair raising aerial trapeze. Now I knew. Somehow I had expected a more sartorial extravaganza for such dramatic necessities – something flamboyant and flashy with cascading folds to hold the priceless beauties within her bosom. Not the flappy Chinese coat and pant she wore perhaps out of practical considerations. Of course, you didn’t run hundred meters relay race in Will Power Gowns. But her simplicity killed my fertile imagination from going amuck. However, what came as a knock-out was the next offer from the faceless stranger.
“Do you want some?”
“What?” I was puzzled
“The Dzzzzzzzzzz”. This was let out in a long conspiratorial hush-hush tone!
“Whooaaaa….” What a question……..
But before I could lash out a whipping retort, ready on the tip of my tongue, she mimicked….”Jo biwi se karey pyaar woh diamonds se kaise Karen inkaar…..tantarra….tarra….tarra…” A most inappropriate tag-line!
It was at this inopportune moment that Beeru my sabiziwallah contrived to erupt out of the blue with his cart full of veggies secured with astronomical price tags.
“Didi ley lijiye pyaanz laal laal…kewal assi rupaye killo…”
Oh! His Allahabadi tahzeeb…I grated my teeth.
“Assi!” I had the pleasure of hearing that shrill note of horrification in my “unfound” or should I say confounded friend’s voice.
“Kya baat kardi aapne!” Now the Allahabadi had an equal match in her Lukhnawi nazaaqat.
“Arrey ! Kal hii to becha hoon nabbey ke bhaav!! Aaj assi to kam ho gaye naa!” Beeru’s irrefutable logic failed to deter her.
My ladybird sounded cheesed off and changed the topic in a jiffy (Oh! The art of it!).
“Now! Come on! Do you or do you not want those twinkly bits of glasses?” The invisible confronted me rather impatiently while a flummoxed Beeru looked on.
Glasses! Carbons! Worth a fortune! Those which were safely ensconced in Katrina Kaif’s well-maintained bosom. Did I or did I now want them? For once I really knew what it meant to be in the horns of dilemma. I hemmed. I hawed. Time was running out…and I could see a black dot in the distant horizon getting magnified by the second in bovine belligerence.
But before the black bull could charge with his crumpled horns angled purposely towards me I shouted, “Nooooooooooo! I want the onions!!!!!1”
“Whattttttttttttttt?” I was sure she’d faint any moment now but I was helpless. Onions, those tempting, shapely tops of red and mauve which adorned my kitchen basket with their invariable presence, dawdled in front of my eyes, with enviable laze and looked immensely more attractive, million times over, than those priceless shards which had somehow receded to the background.
I was about to apologize to her but at that very moment the silver caterpillar once again swished an entry waltzing on those shiny metallic tracks straight on to the platform. The doors once again slid open. And the multitude spilled out… the tireless aam junta, hackneyed in their pursuits and so very unremarkable in their depiction of life…
My eyes pained to see that unfamiliar figure of bony lass in grey and black lapels but alas the throng seemed to have swallowed her up in one monstrous gulp.
And those diamonds?
I wondered as the shrill tinkle of my alarm clock buzzed on…and on…and on…till each cell constituting my being shrieked in unison alarmed!!
I woke up to a heavily curtained room dominated by a huge double box bed piled with thick mattresses. Its pristine walls engulfed in shadows yet to be chased away by sunnier invasions. Yes, it was my bedroom where I had dreamed many a dreams through ages. Dreams which have perked me up, dreams which have shoved me into the vortex of melancholia, dreams which have made me understand the significance of the weird in our mediocre lives, dreams which have not left any scope for rationalization, dreams which have seemed a jumbled up knit of hocus pocus, dreams which have very infrequently soothed my jarred nerves swathing me in a cloak of embalming sleep.
But honest to God never before in a dream have I been thrown into such a tizzy compelling a choice between diamonds and onions! A parapsychologist’s delight this would be to decipher the intricate interconnection between the two objects which apparently have no, not even remote, resemblance to each other. Yet, my fertile frontal lobes had worked upon the inconceivable and entertained me with a situational caper which had the ingredients of revving up a higher form of interactive dialogues in the Socrates-ian camp.
As I mulled over the various possibilities in which the dreamscape could have culminated had it happened in reality (gotcha that’s an oxymoron) or the rationale behind the not so run-of-the-mill theatricals of the subconscious, the alarm charged up again to my utter annoyance.
I shrugged off the blanket and readied my reluctant reflexes to start singing afresh the everyday song….. no. no cloud nine for me, pal….
Yet, there remained so many questions unanswered…. And in between the clanking cutlery, wobbly washing machine, the disgruntled dust pans and innumerable household chores, my mind played a crooked game of “Bujho To Jaaney” : Who was she running away from? The goons or the guards? The law breakers or the law makers? Where did she vanish to? Amongst these the foremost : What happened to those sparkling dusts of carbon?
And last but not the least…………Did I want some…………….?
Well, let’s leave it at that…
It’s time to fry the onions….oh please!
[Foot Note : Last but not the least, this post is dedicated to my very good friend and co-blogger, one and only Jack,My Say , the awesome on-line doodler, am glad that I happen to know, who has also gone all out of his way to add immense value to this post with a ticklish teaser posted in the beginning of the article. I am greatly indebted to him for his time, patience and creativity and can’t thank him enough for the precision with which he has hit the nail, so to speak, i.e., grasped the pulse of the post in one go. I feel blessed having ‘met’ him on-line and cherish the interactions that he allows me to have with him on his blog space and also on e-mails.]