He saw a few missed calls when he came out of the bath. He didn’t recognize the number and didn’t bother to call back too. The number rang again after a couple of hours and on connecting, he could hear a hesitant feminine “Hello”. He couldn’t place the voice and responded by a loud “Hello!”
There was no response and he was about to disconnect, when he heard a slightly better hello again. It did ring a bell but still couldn’t place the voice.“Who’s this?”He asked.
Mi?.and the he couldn’t complete the word?.
How are you?
I’m fine??um?.where did you get my number?
Oh?..so how have you been?.where are you calling from?.
You still ask more than one question together, is it??
Well leopards don’t change their spots?.u see
Or is it kutte-ki-doom?
You still have a poor taste for animals, isn’t it?
I don’t associate the word ?taste’ with animals?
Oh yes?.the Queen of Veggies?..no living things and all that??by the way?.why after so many days..or rather years??I guess??14 years?right?
14 and half?to be precise!
You missed the days?I guess!
Stop being sarcastic?please?..
Ok?so why the sudden call?
Can we meet?
Which one do you want me to answer?.why or when?
Tomorrow at the Coffee House?
Not there! Any other place. I hate their coffee!
Since the last 14 and half years??.since u asked for it.
OK. You tell me.
A few blocks from the Coffee House, is a Barrista?.we can meet there in the evening.
Well good to change with times?.I am fine with barrista.
Well you change even before the times?.
Now now?.if you are going to bring all that then let’s not meet
So what are we talking tomorrow?weather and politics? I can watch the 9’o clock news for that?I don’t need to go to Barrista tomorrow for that?
Are u coming tomorrow?
Yes, but no conditions of what to talk and do!
Sure?..I guess I don’t have a choice since I called?do I?
You always had choices?rather it was me who never had choices, isn’t it?
See you tomorrow at 7pm.
7.30 will be more like it?.
You’ll wait? Since when have you started waiting?
The line was dead
At Barrista the next day?.
How come, you are on time?.i thought you said you can’t make it at 7
I guess I didn’t like the idea of you waiting
I will go with your leopard comment?.
I choose my words well?
Don’t I know?
What will you have?
Don’t you know?
Well it’s been a long time and lots of things change..
So don’t you have tea anymore?
I do?..I haven’t changed.
Then why expect me to change?.I still have black-coffee with?
Nice to know you haven’t forgotten?
I haven’t forgotten many other things?
Another thing that has not changed
Would you be happy if it did?
What then would be No?
How has life been with you?
A question cannot be an answer to another?.
If you didn’t get it?..then that was to change the subject
Well I did, but I didn’t want to let go off that discussion?..
I knew it??and that’s why I had to force it??so how has life been?
Well nothing very eventful?..but so far so good.
How evasive can you get?
If you ask a specific question then you will get specific answer??.
Did you meet anyone in the last decade and a half??ok let me get specific?..have you got married?
Didn’t find anyone worth getting married to.
Did you look around?
How’s Carl? Any kids? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ??
One son. He is 12.
He is in US
He didn’t want to stay in India & I didn’t want to stay in US
So we live in our own worlds.
You divorced Carl? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ??
Can you go beyond the cryptic?
Not worth expanding?..let’s leave it at that.
When did all this happen?
It all ended six years back
Yes and 3 years to get back to normal.
& the rest 3?
Eventful, if you know me well!
Well you can say that.
Is today a part of that experiment?
How could you even say that?.
Ok sorry?..now sit down?..u don’t have to be so demonstrative!
One more of that silly sarcasm from you and I leave?.
& who pays the bill?!?
But I thought you called me over?..
Pleeeaaassse??.If you can’t change, at least grow up!
What about your son?
Andre? What about him?
I mean where is he?
He is in Panchgani and comes home twice a year..
Who’s he like?
Like his dad?..but stays with me?.loves me now?can’t be sure about future?.again like his dad
Now that’s not being fair to him?
Who, dad or the son?
I guess I should not be commenting?
Since I don’t know the whole story?.how can I take sides..
Exactly?.and above all I am not here to talk about my family..whatever is left of it!
So what are you here for?
Is that important? Isn’t it good enough that we are meeting and sipping two different drinks like before and will go to two different directions like always?
But that was your decision
But you didn’t try to change my decision too
I didn’t know you wanted me to
That’s not what I said
Then what r u saying
How long will you say nothing and I will keep wondering why you did what you did?
Does it matter?
Even after so many years?
For me it was like yesterday?..& I can recount every event in minute details?.and seeing you has only added to the pain?
How would you term it?
Sorry, that’s not what I meant
Apologies don’t make things right?
I have heard that before!
You sure have?but not practiced it seems like
OK! Can we talk about you? What have you been upto since we parted?
Nothing much?.just focused on job, then jobs and still doing just that.
Well yes?.am having an ongoing affair with them?.
No I meant?writing. Haven’t you written anything till date?
Well yes?but not published?I guess nobody publishes the ramblings of a loser
You never lost?..it was I who did?.
You lost what?
You won’t understand
Or is it that you don’t want to spell it out
When did you get my contacts?
About a year back
So what took you so long to get in touch?
Would you have me contact you earlier?
That’s not answering my question
That’s not answering my question too!
I repeat ? ?what took you so long to get in touch?
Wasn’t sure, if it would be OK?..was afraid that I might be creating chaos in your married life, I had assumed you would have settled down with a nice homely girl eating home-made food three times a day!
Why not a bohemian character?
Was that one of your sarcastic ones?
No?it was in response to the homely comment!
I’ll let that one pass?.
Phew?I guess that was close!
I knew it!!
So what made you ultimately call?
I trusted your secretive self and your ability to compartmentalize feelings and relationships. I also know that you don’t look back..
I am not sure if all that were compliments?.though it did not quite sound so!
They were compliments??& thanks to all that of you, I dialed your number yesterday.
Just to meet and sip what you call ? two different drinks?
No??.just to see you.
And go back?
You are going to US? For what?
To leave Andre with Carl
Andre want’s to stay with Carl
Why??after staying with you for so many years?
Well to quote someone ? you should never trust white men?
But Andre is not all white!
Well the black part stayed with me all this while and the white one is acting now!
And you are letting him go?
Why hold him?when I knew from the very beginning that he was his father’s son.
Maybe you didn’t work on him?
I never work on emotions?..I expect them to flow naturally?..to quote someone!
You too remember so much!So when are you returning form US?
I don’t know?.probably never
You mean you too are going back to Carl?
I have the opportunity to stay back in US?.I have a job at the Bank of NY
So you might not return?
Return for who and what?
And they parted once again never to meet again?
Shouldn’t I have asked her to return for me?
If only he had asked me to come back?.I would have left my job at NY.