How often does “Out of sight, out of mind” work? It never really does unless our analytical mind hunts our heart down and convinces it completely with its list of 1000 reasons why you should forget this person. My analytical mind was winning over my weak heart. But I was amazed at the strength of every single word that came out of my heart. Every word had the power to shake my newly acquired control and balance over myself. It is not funny when an emotional heart outwits the strongest analytical mind.
That day was dark and bright at the same time. Like a hint from the heaven. When the wintry sun begins to turn warm and the flowers bloom in full splendour, you know it is spring. A rainy Spring Sunday is very rare in Delhi. The misty roads looked like the dark reflection of the bright blue sky. The sparkling raindrops over the fresh green leaves, the smell of the soil and everything else looked absolutely divine. Enjoying all these, I was sitting at the balcony with a hot cup of tea. Mother sat next to me.
“Jia, look there is a new family in our gulli.” Mother said.
I turned and saw a truck parked next to Khurana uncle’s place. He’s renting the second floor 2 rooms set which has been empty for a long time. He was not very keen on renting it, but after the recent recession when his son lost his job, he was left with no option but to rent it. His family has been living in this house for generations. The building’s condition is evident of years it has survived.
Two laborers were busy unloading the heavy furniture. The loud and confident voice guiding them was behind the truck. Initially I was least bothered to know who had moved into our neighbour. I don’t really see any of these people frequently. So, I never cared. The moment I saw a set of tabla, sitar and tanpoora coming out of that truck, I instantly found a reason to know the new person. There may be many reasons why I had not pursued any art forms, but there is always something your heart learns on its own. I love classical music and drama. There it was. Just opposite my balcony!
I tried to find out the source of the voice. I went to the kitchen to keep my cup in the sink (which I never do). From there I saw her for the first time. She was wearing a simple cotton saree, a slipper, holding an umbrella, hair tucked into a homely and safe bun…she was undisturbed by the fact that she was almost drenched. Two kids were standing at the verandah right behind her. A girl and a boy. I assumed those were her kids. There was nothing special about her. May be that’s why they say,” Don’t judge a book by its cover.” So true! I wanted to know her desperately. I had no idea why. The rain, the furniture, the laborers and the two mischievous kids, these were enough to create the perfectly stirring background against my new neighbor. She looked up to our balcony to respond to my mother’s friendly smile and then she moved inside with her kids.
“Why do you have to be the first one to greet anyone who moves in our neighborhood?” I said. I know, this is my cynical side speaking louder than it should. “Have you seen anyone else jumping out of their balconies to greet her? If she needs she’ll come to us.”
“Jia, why are you so…so…so…Leave it! See, I know how hard it is to shift and make a home out of four walls. I am one of the oldest ones living in this area. And. I’ll always be the first one greet anyone who moves in. Do you understand?”
I was secretly wishing opposite of what i was going to say.” Ok. Greeting from the balcony was good enough. Please don’t call her for tea or dinner. Now, that would too clingy. Chipku types. “
Mother said exactly what I guessed. “I am going call her for tea and may be dinner too. I did not see any man with her. I guess she’s living alone. “She left the place saying that. There was a pain in her voice. It was not too difficult to know why.
After an hour or two, my mother reached her door. She welcomed mother inside. It was strange that I was feeling very nervous. The same feeling I had at the first job interview, the first date or the first kiss. Not knowing the way is a scary thing for me. I was lying on my bed. Alert and excited. In anticipation. And, there it was. The bell rang.