I burnt her pictures, deleted her number, but what should I do about the memories?
She lingers in my head, like a fresh Champa that bloomed in my grandmother’s garden. I was always in awe of them but never plucked any. Their beauty was in the dark terracotta container that my grandmother regularly looked after. She lined the edges with beautiful colors and sometimes dotted the pot to make it look pretty.
I remember Chhaya in her red bridal lehenga. Her zari dupatta dotted with tiny gold stones made her look exactly the way I wanted her by my side on our D-day. We often argued about the color of our wedding attires. She wanted powder blue.
The day she got wedded was the day I burnt all her pictures. I deleted the number under the name My Doll. They show it in movies how a person becomes stronger after these practices. It did unclasp me for a while. But for a short while.
But you can’t snatch someone’s cigarette and tell them it’s no longer for them to keep. They’ll fight you. Probably they’ll accept your words but burn inside for days before they completely heal.
Years later, however, they’ll still say, I used to smoke. It relieved me then. It did give me an incomparable hit, but it’s a bad habit.
She relieved me too. It didn’t show to the outside world. But inside, I felt it. I always pined for her but once, I saw her or talked to her, I sighed in relief.
I look back to that day when our eyes first met, when our hands first twined, our lips first sealed, and our bodies first clung.
I still remember that day, and I will always do.
You will still find me at Raju Bhaiya’s shop at the corner of Tilak lane, where she bought a few Mentos for her friend. I’ll tell you more about her, all of that I would like to recall. But if you offer me a cigarette, I’ll tell you I don’t smoke. That it might make you happy for a while, but it’s a bad habit. I will hand you a few Mentos instead.