“We just came away from the main city and the bus had halted for the second time.” She was saying while we got down the bus
“Second time?” I asked surprised, “I think this is the first time.”
“First time you were asleep.” Without waiting for my answer she put her earphones in place and started listening to song. It was so embarrassing for me to sleep in front of some one. I know how I will sleep. My mouth will get wide open sometimes even saliva… yuck.
The winter in November in Bangalore is more merciless that I thought. She had wrapped her around a shawl. The conductor and the driver were looking at the bus as if it is Chandrayan. There was nothing visible due to fog and of course the missing of street lights.
She was leaning her back in a tree and was listening to songs. I said “I am sorry; I was travelling a lot these days. I was tired” She didn’t seem to listen. The song that she was hearing was a good one. Not lot of people will like it but I did. I started humming the tone looking at the dark roads and surrounding trees. When I turned back I saw her with a surprising look. She was not leaning in the tree now.
“What?” I asked.
“Do you know that song?”
“I like that song. In fact all the songs in that movie are very good. The movie itself…” before I could finish she was with a next question.
“You like the film too?” another question. May be she is a Gen-Y female director who directed the movie or a big fan of that hero.
“You are a director or what?” I asked suspiciously.
“No, not a lot of people like that song or movie. I was so surprised that I could meet someone who shares the exact taste of mine.” She seemed to be talking in trance. I got it, she is the Gen-Y kid who complicates life by going to all these seminars conducted in star hotels.
“How does it feel to you?” she asked.
“Oh! It’s very cold here.” I answered, sincerely.
“I didn’t ask that stupid. The feeling. You know what I am talking about right. You would have experienced that. We would like something very much. May be because of the richness in the art or intellect, but we hold it very close to our heart but when we share to others, they don’t really appreciate it. You will feel like bashing their head, but the feeling sinks in you. Haven’t you ever gone through such things?” She was talking as if she is talking to herself. Didn’t wait for my answer or reaction.
“Yeah! So many times but I do not pay attention to those. The worst thing is when we are talking about the best thing when we are in groups, the dumbest ideas and gossips get better attention. That’s so irritating.”
“I can feel you. Why are people like us are so rare to find?” She asked.
“May be that’s why we are called the uncommon” I replied.
In the mean time our rocket scientists found a way to start the bus again and everybody was getting inside the bus. When we reached our seats, she asked for the window seat.
“I wanted to ask you before, but you were sleeping.”
“No problem” I said wishing to stars that she will stop talking about me feeling asleep.
“So tell me about the movie” She asked once the bus started.
“Not again” I mocked her.
“Come on, I haven’t meet someone who is of same taste as mine and I am not very sure about the future too. I am not going to stop tonight.”
“It is an unusual movie.” I started saying. My childhood experience came handy. I used to say the full story of a movie to friends by looking at the posters or trailers. Mostly believable. The movies that go behind my stories or different plots are considered to be brilliant.
“Every movie is unusual in its own way” She said, “My father used to say.”
“That’s because, people don’t want to see usual movies…”
“that they relate to their daily lives, they want some fantasies” she finished.
“This is not fair. That was my sentence. I was about to tell that”
“Now, I have said that now go ahead with the story” she quipped.
“The story is about a young poor writer and an actress.”
“Oh no! Not again” She said with her head in hand.
“What’s your problem with writers? I mean, why should you get upset?”
“I am fed up with writers’ yaar. My father is a writer. My mother writes some short stories also. I have an elder sister who used to write columns in news paper. Her husband is a writer too. The guy I met today in Bangalore is a writer. They all talk so unusual. Though I can understand what they are talking exactly, I can’t share that with lot of people. They don’t understand.”
“Well, you really have bad luck it seems. I am writer myself too” I finally disclosed.
She didn’t speak for a while. She was looking out of the window. There was darkness everywhere. The passing by vehicles gave some light to see the road and the trees at the sides. It was really nice to see the pace of the trees disappearing behind us. My bus companion was lost in her own thoughts. May be she is figuring some theory of how she is keeping on meeting people, she tries to avoid. My theory is simple. If you are running in a same problem again and again then YOU are the problem.
“Why does it happen to me always?” She asked me, as if I know the answer.
“Look! That’s not actually a problem. Given you are having a background of writers, you are invariably attracted to writers. Your frequency and their frequency match. You are able to understand their perspective and language which the ordinary people out there don’t really understand. You don’t really have to worry about this. What you are going through is absolutely normal” I assured.
”May be, I can ask you something, Please stop worrying about silly things. Don’t let them bother you.” She nodded, giving an uncomfortable glance towards the conductor and the bus.
“See, you look like this bus is going to break down now. This is your imagination. No such thing is gonna happen now.” When I finished that sentence, our Chandrayan broke down.
This is the third time. I can’t stand this anymore. I am not traveling in KSRTC next time. The buses suck big time. They take longer than usual. Now we are struck between Bangalore and Chennai. God knows which place is this. It’s getting cooler now. I took out my jacket and wore it. She was covering herself with her shawl. My mobile said that we are more than three km away from sriperumpudur, the nearest civilization.
“It’s late night. We still have 45 minutes for three o clock.”
“That needs a genius to find out. What would I have done in this forest without you?” I mocked her.
“Hey come on, don’t get upset. You can come to my house and stay tonight. I mean this three hours. It’s in Sriperumpudur only. Don’t worry.
Being a not very social person, I refused to join her at first. But she was stern in her decision. And the howling winds left me with no option. The passengers are trying to go by other vehicles which I don’t consider fit for travelling. I decided to join her. We called a taxi and we were waiting at the place for the taxi to arrive.
“What will your parents think? You’re going home at midnight with a guy!”
“Don’t worry. They are very simple and broad minded people. In your words, your frequency will match.”
“Oh! I wish the same” I sighed half believing and half unsatisfactory about that answer.
“Now come back to the point. How are writers getting treated in the society?”
Not again ma. I am sure nobody in this world would have been discussing this standing in National highways at that time. This girl..uh. Unstoppable. The questions are pouring. My science teacher was better. He took 2 minutes gap for each question.
“Come on! We don’t have to worry about that. And we are not writing for getting any accolades from the society. I write for myself. But what you said is true to some extent. The common man enjoys a sensual dialogue by a hero in a movie. He cuts a nice article in newspaper and saves it in his diary but they will comfortably forget that each word they had saved and enjoyed had come from the mind of a writer. People still think a writer is one who writes in fountain pen, wears dirty shirts and smokes beedi, which is not the fact. They will irritate writers to any extent, but when the writer gets any credit then they will read his age old books and articles and write pages and pages about him.” I finally finished. Wonder how she managed to keep quite all the time.
“So you don’t use fountain pen?” She asked after a brief pause.
“My laptop” I said with a smile.
“You don’t smoke beedi too huh?” her humor sense suddenly got activated.
“Davidoff” I said, in a no nonsense tone.
The taxi arrived. Much to my surprise there was not much talking in the taxi. May be she got tired of asking questions. I really doubt whether I had this kind of complex thinking. I take life so easy. After all its not that too tough!
We reached her home in 30 minutes. The house was simple but had a very good taste. It looked neat and tidy. There was a garden, a pathway in between the garden leading to the door of the house. I wish I could have come in the evening to the house. Never mind. I will be watching sunrise here tomorrow.
While she was reaching for the doorbell, I stopped her.
“I didn’t know this would turn up like this. It would be so foolish of me if I don’t ask your name atleast now. Sorry for not asking earlier.”
“Siddhi!” She said with the smile. Now I took a look at my companion for the night. She was not so beautiful yet qualifies to be cute. While she smiled, her eyes shrank so much that her eyebrows touched her skin. She had dimples in her chin when she smiled. Her natural curly hairs were hanging to her shoulder and a strand of hair, which always disobeys was dangling between her right eye and ear.
“Do you think I am beautiful?” she answered. I know how to answer this question. After all I am flirting from age of 13.
“I think you have some majestic look. Not only beauty but some intelligence that brightens your eye and I can see intellect in the conversation too.” I handled it quite well. Didn’t I?
“I know. I am a Leo. I think your name starts with the letter “I”. Right?” she asked.
“You must have seen the tattoo in my hand. I am sorry. You’re wrong.” I quipped.
“Oh! My visitor comes here with his own stories huh!” I can’t sense any humor there, maybe she was upset.
“By the way, I am Aries.” I said. “Aries men…”
“Shut up, I have read Linda Goodman too” she said to me pressing the door bell.
Her parents were simple but broad minded as she had said. At first they were not sure how to welcome their new visitor. The father was not sure whether to make his daughter stand in the cold mistaking or ask his wife to bring harathi to welcome the couple. Mistaking. But once the formal introductions were over and when I was introduced as a writer, they showed their full hospitality capability. But it was too much to have Bengal sweets at 4 in the morning. I ate it anyway. That’s a different story.
Siddhi came to my rescue after she had freshened up. She said her elder sister room was free and I was allowed to take it. The room was surprisingly neat. The only thing I had to dread is as Siddhi is fresh, she might be coming with more new questions.
The room was neat and tidy same as the house itself. I thought of my own room. It had been months since I have slept in a nice place. When I was ready to sleep Siddhi came in.
“Hey come in. Be seated. Feel at home!” I joked.
“Thanks for your courtesy. Are you comfortable?”
“I am as comfortable as in a star hotel. Hey don’t you think this is funny or weird. We just met 7 hours before and now I am sitting in your house, chatting with you?”
“Yes! This doesn’t happen to everybody. It only happens to..”
“I know yaar, The Uncommon right?”
“Exactly. We were talking about writer’s right?
“Ma! Leave me alone, I have to get some sleep. It had been a long day for me. I know I am in your house, but I can sleep for sometime right?”
“I am sorry! You go ahead. I will meet you in the morning.”
I don’t think I have slept a lot. I was awakened by beautiful sunrays coming into the room from a small opening near the window. There must have been lot of flowers in their garden. The fragrance they brought was divine. I am still searching for a perfume that would match the smell. I got up slowly and looked out of the window. I was right. There were lots of flowers. I am not a great botany student to remember all the names in the garden, but still flowers were lovely. That too they carried dew drops in their head and the ray’s reflection on the dew, even though short lived, was great to see. I wish I get up early to witness all these things.
I just gave a thought about the previous day. Quite interesting. I met this girl in the bus. We started to discuss about a song, then movie, then about life, writers and now I am in her house witnessing a splendid sun rise. Is this true?
“Good morning!” I heard a cheerful voice behind. It was Siddhi. She hadn’t changed her dress.
“Good morning” I said.
“You sleep with your mouth open” she told trying hard to control the smile.
“What? Were you watching while I was sleeping?” Thank God, I did not sleep in my boxers. I feel bad when somebody see me when I am sleeping.
“Not intentionally though. I had no other better thing to do”
“Why? Didn’t you sleep?”
“I was thinking about yesterday. It was weird right? I had a bad day in Bangalore. When I came back I met you. We talked all the non sense. I am still figuring out what made me invite you to my home?”
“True Siddhi. I am not a big social guy. I had never gone to anybody’s house and stayed there over night. Even in Chennai I stay alone. But I don’t know how I came here?”
“Is it good to be alone?”
“I feel its okie. I am away from the people who disapprove me and my living. They have nothing to do with my life style and I am not changing for them. I have never met a person who was comfortable with my lifestyle. So I just opted to be like that. I don’t find any advantages or disadvantages in living alone. So the answer for your question is I don’t know”
“Same here. People never understood me. But my choice was different. I can’t stay away from people. I had to be here. I am living a double life. One for me, what my heart desires deeply and one for others, which society approves?” she said with a dry smile.
The morning sun was playing magic with her face. I have not noticed her skin complexion till then. After all she was wrapped in her shawl. She was fair and quite beautiful. Though the eyes said emotions which were very hard to read. I am not a good reader of eyes too. She was leaning against the window aisle, with her hair down. Part of her face was bright and the other was dark because of the shadow her hair had given her.
“Can I take a photo of yours?” I asked.
“Why?” she asked suspiciously.
“Not everybody will look this beautiful in the morning. I am not sure you look like this every day or is it just today. I just want to record this moment. Please?”
She was ready in a jiffy. She started tying up her hair.
“Wait! Wait, what are you doing?” I asked.
“Getting ready for the photograph. You want me to stand in a photograph with my hair down?”
“Come on Siddhi, be yourself, and you know what I mean.”
She stood there, as I saw her through my eyes. My camera slowly captured the moment. Then we took a snap together. There was computer in her house, I transferred the picture in her computer and sent a copy to my e-mail address.
Soon it was time to start. I bid good bye to her family. They asked me to comeback someday. I made my mind to come back again. I will capture the garden inch by inch in my camera that time.
Siddhi came with me till the bus stop.
“Can I say you something?” I asked.
“Sure, you have said a lot of things to me in this short period.” She said.
“True. But be yourself Siddhi. I can see you are not yourself from your eyes. You can hide it from everyone, but not from a person who lives for himself. Have you ever seen them?”
“Yes, I have. They walk with a jump. Their eyes will be shining with enthusiasm. They will be madly optimistic. The sky is the limit for them.” She talked as if she is in trance.
“What do you like to do with your life Siddhi?”
“I uh. Don’t know!” She said.
“Find out, I can see that you are so confused with yourself. Find what you love and do that recurrently. You will become a master and all those traits you mentioned will be yours. Good luck”
The bus came, I boarded the bus. Siddhi was standing near the window.
“Hey mister, you haven’t told me your name yet?”
“Does that matter now?”
“Yes it does! What a fool I am”
“Even your father hadn’t asked me my name?”
“Come on they would have been sleepy. Tell me please”
The bus started. She almost started crying. But I liked that expression she gave when she made that face. I started smiling. The bus began to move.
“Please…” She yelled.
“The Uncommon” I yelled back. The bus gathered speed and Siddhi was disappearing as a dot. I knew she had printed the picture we had taken together and had it in her hand.
Note: A few months before my friend were discussing this topic with me and he narrated a story he read somewhere. I tried to improvise it in my own way. If the author or anyone who is related to the author read this piece, don’t flag this as a plagiarism but do let me know. I will be more than happy to credit the author