A well placed tattoo in back of the wrist she had. It just started at the place where people cut when they attempt suicide. The place in hand where the physicians touch to see pulse. A place where the vibration of your heartbeat is felt if you are into dialysis.
The tattoo was not of any name. It is of a diya. Diya with a brightly dancing flame, which had an eye in middle of it. This is what caught me when I saw her first in the middle of close to three thousand people throwing balls and Frisbees at each other in a totally new place to me.
A month back I would have never dreamt of standing in a circle throwing balls at people in Bangalore city. But I was there precisely doing that and finding it fun. I came here for a yoga program by a renowned guru. And then I saw her. She was standing few people away from me. She did not miss any of the balls thrown at her. She had ease and grace of catching the ball. And the way I caught the ball, if I did, you will not like to read a description on that.
A few minutes later, when the organizers got bored of the whole thing they assembled us in a straight line. I don’t know why but I made sure that I was in the same line with her. This time it was a weird game. We all stand in a straight line as a group of twenty five. The first person in the line will have a small cane in his hand and should cross all the others in a team in zigzag manner. And then when he reaches the end he must pass the stick to the first person in the line row and the whole thing is repeated. You didn’t understand it right? Neither did I.
Only when the first person finished his sprint and passed the cane to me, I noticed that she was standing next to me. No I didn’t see her eyes, or her face. Her hand extended for the cane and all I could see was her tattoo.
“What are you looking at? Pass it” She said.
It is hard to explain her voice. It was not soft. It was not girly. I am not used to that kind of a girl’s voice in the part of the world I live. It was kind of coarse. But it had its own beauty. It was like the ancient Chinese instrument which gives music when a bamboo stick is rubbed with a type of bow. It was not the voice you would like to wake you up in the morning but it was the voice that will assure you everything is fine when you are in distress.
And then she turned to pass the cane and watched it sail through the other 22 pairs of hands. The back of her Jerkin read “National school of drama”.
“Oh Actress!” I thought.
She suddenly turned back and said “I would have to tap on your head if you keep staring at my hand next time”
“So you are into drama?” I asked her.
“No, I am a dancer” she said turning to cheer the person who was running for our team.
She was super active. Her feet were never at a place for a fraction of second. She kept moving and moving but had grace in it. She ran like a deer. As usual the team I was in won the game and the music started.
She didn’t hesitate to get into her steps. It was hard to say whether she danced with her heart or with the training. I stood there watching when she turned to smile at me “Come on” she said. Being a person with two left feet, I was hesitant till she grabbed my arms with her and then I started like Richard Gere in Dance in Rain. Even if it was for a brief time, I felt great. We were called closer to the Guru then who gave instructions to be done while we do yoga in the morning asked us to be empty stomach for another two hours. And the crowd started to walk back to the stadium.
She was short. I wouldn’t have to bend to kiss her forehead. I mean she is of that height. It was hard to find her type of girl in middle of three thousand people, though I was constantly searching for the black jacket which read “National School of Drama”. I was not able to find one. And the girls who had come to the program had companions and I was not able to stare for long time. After many such encounters with girls I know my luck and started walking back to the stadium. And then I heard it.
“Do you think I should talk to a volunteer?” her voice was very much behind me. I can’t help but I turned around with a smile.
“What?” I asked. She took her jacket off and had tied it around her waist. The sun has come up and I felt like a fool to search a girl with Jerkin at that time.
“I had some cake in the morning; do you think I should tell a volunteer?”
“I don’t think so. Cakes can never be considered to be breakfast. Atleast for me”
“Why? Are you hungry?”
“After the dance, yes”
“I have some energy bars, here have it” she gave me a bar. I had left my wallet in the car. I was not able to buy her anything. I took the bar nevertheless, I was damn hungry and I know they are going to feed me with groundnuts and fruit after an hour.
We walked to the stadium and I was pushed by a volunteer to my bay which was 2. I was one of the very few people who were already in the hall, aligning their yoga mat and finding a better place to sit. I stood there and she came to bay number 4. She gave a flash of smile before starting to meditate.
Uff! Not my type for sure. But I know I had started liking towards her and then the volunteers started clapping which meant the class is about to start. After an hour of Yoga and lectures we were allowed to take breakfast. Fortunately the breakfast was fine that day. I silently sneaked through and joined the line of bay 4.
She stood right behind me but didn’t notice me. She was in her own world. After a long wait of three minutes, she tapped on my shoulder and I turned around to give a fake surprised look.
“What are you doing here?” She asked. “Are you in this bay?”
“No. The queue in my bay was too long. So I thought of standing here. You can come front if you want”
“Hey, I wanted to say you something.” I said.
“What?” She had a look of half knowing and half expecting.
“The tattoo is too good. Did you have anything in mind when you went for it?”
“No, not really. I like diyas. And eyes are the most I like in me. So I just combined both of these and made it a tattoo.” We had collected the food and were standing aside. It was then I noticed her eyes. It was intense brown color eyes, which went deep and deep. One can never get bored of just watching her eyes. It was like watching a movie in IMAX cinema. The kajal she had applied made her eye lids look like fishes. I was so deeply looking into her eyes and I guess she was looking at mine when a word shook me and brought me back to earth.
“Prasanna” My sister was standing with her yoga mat in her hand.
“I just got this for you Prasanna. The ground will be very uneven, use this till the evening. I will collect later.”
“So Sweet of you akka and this is.. “ I turned around to introduce her to my sister but she was gone. I cannot find her.
“What are you searching for?” my sister asked.
I was not able to tell anything and when the next session started, they had something called ecstasy dance. It was weird to see 40 and 50 somethings around you get up and dance and try to pull you up and match their steps. It was no ecstasy I say. And I had a good breakfast, I did not think I would dance, but a familiar hand with tattoo grabbed me up. She was in a different world. She didn’t even see whether I danced or not. I just stood there very close to her watching her dance. At a point of time most of the other people who were dancing around stopped with exhaustion leaving only two of us standing. I mean she was dancing and I was jumping. Then suddenly for the next bit of music she held my hand and started swaying. I didn’t know how to react. I was just going with a flow. The world seemed dizzy. And when the music stopped she just went to her place without a word and I am left with lot of thoughts which I am not able to streamline even now.
In the lunch I tried getting into her line like morning but was not able to. I saw her she was standing in my line now and I stood in the line. She glanced at me atleast twice in three minutes while we were waiting but it took too long before we reached the buffet. We took food and stood at a far corner.
“Why were you looking at me like that?” she asked me after a while.
“I don’t know, I liked your eyes”
“You said you liked my tattoo and now eyes, what next?”
“You dance really well”
“I know, but don’t do that again OK!”
“Look into my eyes like that”
“Is it a hidden invitation?”
She smiled but didn’t say anything. The volunteers had an irritating habit of clapping hands when they want us inside the hall. When the clap started she dropped her plate in the dustbin and rushed. I was smiling ear to ear.
The afternoon session was non-stop. When the class was over there was chaos to touch the Guru and everyone was everywhere. I tried going to her bay, but she was not there. I waited till everyone is gone and they had started to dismantle the stage and other things. I was a fool to expect a girl whom I met in the morning, whom I don’t know by name will wait for me after the class. I pulled myself upto the bus stand to get bus to Chennai. I was happy that I had a chance to meet a girl but sad that I didn’t even know her name.
The buses were full and I was approached by a private bus agent. He asked 700 rs for Chennai.
“What so special? I have given only 500 when I came here”
“Its ultra comfortable sir”
“OK will you play movie?”
“Its not possible, we start late night and reach early morning only songs can be played that too with low sound”
“No problem. But you should play songs OK?
I got seat in the front and all the other seats except my side were filled. I know even if some girl comes they cannot put me somewhere. The agent tried for another half hour but in vain to get another passenger. I was happy that I had an empty seat near me so that I can stretch all I want.
The songs had not started yet. I started pestering the driver about the song.
“Sir, please wait. When we reach Madiwala may be we can play songs. Not now”
The bus stopped for a while in Madiwala. The agent was talking to someone pointing me. It must be a girl hesitant to sit near a guy. Hopefully she will not get into bus I thought but in a few minutes the agent came with all smiles and switched on the mp3 player.
A hand grabbed the handle of the door. The hand had a diya tattoo with dancing flame which had eye in it. The mp3 player was singing “Bheege hote there” and it started to drizzle.