Dighalipukhuri Park

“Sorry”, the girl said.
“It’s okay”, the boy replied.
“But you are angry with me”, the girl continued.
“I am not angry, I am just sad”, the boy said.
“Why are you sad?” the girl asked.
“Because life is not what we think it is”, the boy said, “Also I don’t have any control over my life...I lost the winter-cap that I had bought from Lajpat Nagar, and I lost the bag which contained gifts i had bought for my mom and dad, because I am careless, and I should have been more aware of what was happening around.”
“Oh don’t be sad”, the girl said and slipped her fingers into the boy’s. The boy took her hands and sat there watching nothing in particular. The girl’s hair gave off a mild dove-shampoo smell. The boy then started playing with her hair.
“Aah…” the girl opened her mouth, “Ooh…”
 The boy paid no heed to the girl’s complaints and continued to enmesh his hand on her hair.
“Don’t do that!” she said.
“Why?” the boy asked.
“I don’t like it…” the girl said.
“I like it very much”, the boy said. “Okay, just one more minute and I will stop playing with your hair”, he added.
“You are so funny!” the girl said.
“I am funny. Yeah I am”.
“You are so funny!” the girl said again looking at him with a wide grin.
“I am funny. Yeah I am”.
 They remained just like that, sitting, staring at the small lake in front of them. DighaliPukhuri. The boy wondered if this girl whom he had never met prior to this evening would allow him to kiss her. The girl wondered what an extraordinary boy this boy was. He was studying in Delhi. And he had gotten her number from a mutual friend and had called her about twenty times before she picked up the phone and agreed to meet him. And on the way to Dighalipukhuri he was so how-to-put-it—happy to be with her and to be alive that when they had reached he had completely forgotten that he was supposed to pay the rickshaw puller. Is he for real? How can anyone be so…carefree, weird, innocent of guilt? He is funny he concluded. He is the funniest man I have ever met, she decided. And he is totally weird. But in a cute way.
“Have you kissed anyone?” the boy asked. He noted that his timing was lame. He needed to do better the next time he threw such personal questions.
“What?” the girl asked.
“Have you kissed anyone?”
“No…”
“How old are you?” the boy asked. “I am twenty years old”, he added.
“I am twenty too”, the girl said.
“You are twenty years old and you have not kissed anyone yet”, the boy remarked. Again a lame thing to say he noted.
The girl remained silent and leaned away from him. She looked at the electric lights in the restaurants across the lake.
The boy looked at the lights too and then he looked at the girl. She wore a coat that hung on her thin body. It was limp and flabby.
“Can you not button this?” the boy said reaching for the coat and trying to pull the sides together.
“No it cannot be buttoned”, the girl said.
“But what is the purpose of the buttons?”
 “It... looks good without being buttoned”.
“But…” The boy stopped mid-way. He decided not to question the logic of her coat and make her feel uncomfortable.
“Hey, don’t lean away from me”, he said, “Look at my face”.
He pulled the girl closer by her waist so that he could feel more of the warmth of her body. The girl resisted. She arched her body. Then she leaned back and sat more relaxed. The boy looked at the tranquil water in the DighaliPukhari. And when nobody said anything and the Park seemed absolutely empty except for the two of them the girl studied the boy’s face. She looked at him carefully and concluded that he was really very funny. Should she allow him to kiss her? Nobody would see them doing it. It was pretty dark inside the park.
“Listen, I am just happy to be sitting here beside you. Let’s not kiss or anything. You just be comfortable,” the boy said. More than his erection the philosophy of the situation turned him on. He was pretty sure he was not ever going to meet her again. His life was a nightmare in Delhi, he survived his days mainly by eating the poison of unfulfilled desires. And here he was, in Guwahati: just for one day a carefree man sitting with a stranger girl in Dighalipukhuri Park.

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