Rolled Monk

Archive for April, 2013|Monthly archive page


In Uncategorized on April 8, 2013 at 4:39 pm

It was a sweltering Saturday afternoon in Chennai. The scheduled two-hour power cut made the day even more unbearable. Scores of people took refuge in the scanty shade on the street. I too was one among them. I had come home from college after four years and was awaiting orders from a company where I was placed. I settled down on a chair in front of my house and was lost in an old R K Narayan novel when the sweet smell of jasmines in the air called for my attention.

It was ******* who lived two doors down the street. She had just walked past me. I vaguely recalled playing with her when the pair of us were kids. From the murky depths of my mind I unearthed an old image of hers. She used to be ugly back then, or so I thought. My parents and other neighbors had always talked of her as a cute little girl. As I saw her that day, I realized that they had not been wrong. She was not beautiful but she was definitely good-looking.

I put her out of my mind and went back to my book. Later that night, over dinner, I asked my mother about her.

‘Oh! ******? She finished her B.Sc in Maths or something da. She has been at home for the past 1 year now. She just got engaged last week.’

‘Engaged?’ I inquired as some other part of my mind registered that I had lost almost any chance of hitting on her without creating a terrible scandal.

‘Yes… Apparently she was in love with some boy from our Vellaithevar street and her parents found out. He was from some other community also…’, said my mother with the typical gleam in her eyes when she gives out gossip.

I scarcely paid attention to the rest of the story. It was another typical tale where the parents were against “love”. Now I had lost every chance. But I was more intrigued by that feeling of regret which was anchoring slowly within me. The feeling didn’t last long. It was that kind of a feeling you get when you have missed a bus. One would be sad only until the next one came along. I soon forgot about this little matter entirely.

The next Saturday I was at my usual location on the street buried in another book. I was oblivious to my surroundings until a shuttlecock that hit me smack in the face startled the life out of me. I picked up the projectile and looked about for the perpetrator.

A young kid, about eight-to-nine years old, started walking towards me reticently. While he was walking in my general direction, he constantly turned back and made what seemed to be furious air-art with his hands. As he stood in front of me with his hand outstretched, I curiously looked over him at the recipient of his hand signals. It was a really pretty girl who looked a year or two older than him.

After about ten seconds of silence, the boy squeakily said, “That is mine.”

“Who hit this?” I asked him.

“She only…”

“So why are you here? Are you scared of her?” I teased him. The kid shuffled his feet awkwardly. He looked at the feathery mess in my hand and I was pretty sure that he desperately wanted to snatch it and run away. I sensed that there was no answer in sight for that question and asked him whether the girl was his sister?

“No.. no… she is my friend.”

I gave him the shuttle cock and before he was able to put considerable distance between us I teased him further.

“So then what? Girlfriend?”

“Cheee! No no no….My girlfriend will be beautiful! She is ugly…”, he said with a furious scowl on his face and ran back to continue his game.