Story of a geek guy with Hilsa memories:-
It was probably your way of “Thanksgiving”. You had cooked two Hilsa preparations and invited me to relish the same. I was scared to accept your invitation. I was scared to invade your home with my ruffled thoughts of last summer. However, I couldn’t resist the idea of having food made by you; I couldn’t resist the idea of looking at you without any interruption. You are so irresistible!
When I reached, your captivating smile and a delicious aroma of freshly cooked mustard Hilsa welcomed me; I felt like home.
“I thought you will not come; still I hoped against hope…” She smiled at me.
“You invited me…how can I skip?” I assured trying to forget the issues called ‘past’.
“Thanks.” You led me to the dining table and I noticed a row of ornamental vines hanging happily near the balcony. A few paper-made wall hangings are trying to give the home a happy look. You are trying earnestly to act like a happy person. Sadly, I too act like, everything is okayed.
And then, the celestial moment came. You served me rice, “Sorshe Illish” (mustard hilsa) and “Illish bhapa” (steamed hilsa). I was elated with food and you, both. The pungent green chillies and notorious mustard seeds set my taste buds on fire. I was untying the banana leaves to expose the queen of fish and you were looking at my finger movements.
“What’s it dear?”
“Nothing,” you chuckled, “you eat very slowly.”
“I am just cautious” I replied.
“Are you afraid of fish bones?” you laughed musically and I smiled like a stupid dolt.
“Let me separate the bones…”
“No, it’s okay; I’ll manage.”
You made me eat four pieces of fish. Deep inside, I felt something strong for you; I am still drunk of you just like before. Your yellow-green saree was so enticing. You are like my mom; so loving yet so pungent.
I was a bit uneasy while having the fish. I was trying not to wet my eyes with memories; I was attentive to behave normally.
I couldn’t say, “I still love you.” But that day felt like a dawn of civilization; so new and so fresh. I consumed the food made by you. I consumed the purest form of “amrito”. I couldn’t ask for more.
She softly started, “For once I wanted to feel like I am your wife. For once, I ate after my beloved finished his meal. For once, I felt like I am living my dream.” She stopped and I looked at her teary eyes. I felt like I was alive to listen her musical voice and these words.
The afternoon was sunny. We fought with words and slayed each other with the swords of hatred and love. And you left never looking back, never giving a fig. Your yellow dress slowly mingled with other people walking in the busy street. I stood there, alone, motionless, broken and upset. I looked at the street lights, the crowd and felt the boisterous noises surrounding me. I found myself standing before a very famous café and people inside might be engaged either in small talks or heavy conversations. They might be enjoying their cappuccino or espresso. The lights inside the cafe were pale yellow. That very shade of yellow carries a color of frustration. I lit up a cigarette.
By chance, my eyes caught a couple inside the café; they were too adorable, intensely engrossed in each other, sipping the cold coffee from the same long glass. I felt bad…for myself, for my girlfriend and for our love.
Evening is the time when you are bound to be alone or sad. I tried to control myself, stop my tears, tried to look at other girls walking in stilettos and hotpants. I tried to avert myself from her thoughts. I lit up another cigarette. The smoldering fire was trying to calm me down. I remembered how many counters we shared. Again my eyes rolled into the cafe. The lights inside were still dim but slightly brighter than earlier due to the upcoming darkness. And finally it darkened. I decided to have something from the cafe and walked inside. The sweet creamy pastry seemed insipid to me and the milky coffee didn’t give me any charm. I ordered a cupcake. It came in a white dish; the cake topped with a little chocolate ball and a little candy floss. Surprisingly I enjoyed it like girls do. I enjoyed the cupcake as if she was with me. Slowly, the thought separation walked out of my head and I only thought of the still fresh memories. I remembered how much she loved the cupcakes.
I looked at the streets. A child was selling roses. Another child was busy selling balloons to a child sitting inside a car. I packed a box of cakes and went outside. The busy city walks around, rides bikes and cars never showing some love to the street children.
When I distributed the cakes among children I saw the café lights glowing in brightest shade of yellow.
They say, “A lot can happen over a cup of coffee”. I say, “A lot can happen over a plate of momo.” It is a story of a plate of hot piping momos and how it had become one of the good vibes of my life. My city was truly busy enjoying the sudden 9°C temperature; the crazy north winds shivered my bones, a multicolored muffler protected me from cold, a glass of hot ginger tea from a roadside tea stall gave me some comfort, the swarming crowd near Esplanade metro made me realize the presence of strenuous Monday and then, adventitiously you appeared before me when I just ordered a plate of chicken momo. God knows, why you had to come on the same stall to have the momos.
You are not my parallel, not my almost, not my ex, but something I can’t name. You looked at me whenever you got slightest opportunity, I even caught you smiling when I passed by on office corridor. Sadly, you never made any move to talk to me; probably you were happy just seeing me there just like people enjoy an elegant piece of art in a museum. I was stupid enough to believe, you were in love, in love with me; but I was so wrong.
“Hello Jinny” your sudden voice made me look at you; you are in a brownish yellow jacket and black jeans. You were looking really handsome.
“Hi” I responded slowly.
“How are you?”
This time I had to smile, “Like you care!” I felt some spots of guilt in your face as you looked at the billboards to avoid my intense gaze. A few minutes had passed without any words from any side. I patiently waited for the momos to come. I was astounded to realize we just talked for the first time.
“I do care…and stupid enough to realize things very late.”
I had to laugh at his words; a man calling himself stupid is a nice thing to watch.
“Thank God, you realized…sooner or later!” I sighed throwing my words; he too sighed. I saw a strange kind of pain in his eyes but soon he turned it into an awkward smile. Then, a comfortable silence clinged us into a nameless thread. Perhaps, time stood still for a while and we too. I didn’t feel uneasy; he didn’t feel any urge to look away. I didn’t notice when we both started having the mouth watering chicken momos.
“The momos are really delicious, aren’t they?” he said to break the silence. I just nodded. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t want him know my helplessness, my loneliness. Probably he was eager to say ‘you look beautiful’, or ‘remember me’ or ‘let’s exchange the numbers’; I was eager to say, ‘let’s stay in touch’ or ‘let’s go for a walk’. Sadly, we ended up saying “goodbye”. We moved away without exchanging phone numbers, without looking back, with a constant effort to behave like a normal person. And once again head won over heart.