Someone I Met in a Party
Having come back from Majuli Island to the city of New Delhi I was mostly concentrating on having a good time. You have to understand that I had accepted the possibility of me never making it back to the city. In fact according to my calculations I was destined to spend the rest of my years in Majuli Island. I have to admit that I had been quite happy back there, had made some friends—there was this particular breastfeeding woman who shared a connection with me. She was so sure of my innocence that she remembered to breastfeed her wilful daughter only when she was beside me by the fireplace. You see, most evenings I came to sit on the porch behind her house and make tea for her. The wilderness expanded out there and the firewood burnt in silence and her boobs were revealed to me as a challenge. But honestly it was no challenge at all. I was far from such thoughts. And in many ways we were just friends. In fact, her willful daughter found a friend in me too. I would carry her on my hips and point at butterflies, dragonflies, tree leaves, sparrows, doves. And she would point with me at things she saw but could not name yet. And so there I was: a simple man living in Majuli Island.
And then I got an invitation from the University to join a workshop on Metaphysics entitled “Being Being Beings” and that was it. I made preparations and waged my way back to the city. New Delhi. The city I knew like my own completed youth. And here is where I met Devoleena. Devoleena Something. A girl whom I will never meet again but who has survived the selection process of my memory of the past three weeks. We met in very convivial circumstances. On the stage a man in a hitch-hiker’s cap was singing a dance number. And this girl was sitting on the back row with her friends. I came in smiling and pulled them all up to join the dance. And the girls obliged. (The singer and his band were quite irresistible.) I caught Devoleena and spoke in her ear, “You are beautiful.” She blushed, “Thank you,” she said. “Not you, I mean your body, your entire figure from top to bottom. I don’t know what you are made of from the inside—the kind of thoughts you keep and the kind of person you are but physically you are really beautiful.” I had no idea how old she was but I assumed that she was eighteen or nineteen. But she had a fully matured body. We gazed into each other’s eyes and smiled. She was attracted to me too. She got back to her seat after some dancing. But I kept dancing with the crowd. And only much later I went looking for her.
She was up on the roof where the buffet was held and people were having lunch. I came towards her and just stood beside her smiling. And then I said hello to her friends some of whom I knew from before. She acted so gracefully, the way she held the plate of food on her hand, the way she was standing and eating with a spoon. And she talked to me. I don’t remember what she asked. My name and what I was doing in New Delhi I think. But I was mainly smiling. Remember you are here to have a good time. You might have never come back.
And what happened? You might be curious. So I answer to you. Nothing happened. After lunch she went out. I followed. She crossed the road. I stopped. Then a few minutes later she came back. Then she lighted a cigarette. (Which surprised me of course. I was not expecting that from her). And she held it out to me. I took a puff. And returned it to her. She took another puff. And she left.