On A Hot Summer Afternoon


Your name was no mystery. Whoever saw you, first saw those turquoise eyes with their specks of gold. They also saw your smooth butter-biscuit skin. And your hair that changed colour with the different watches of the day. What made it unbearable for me was the fact that we--both you and I--were young, not yet eight, but somehow ready for love.

And then the movie happened to us. Actually, a scene from it that showed a just-married hero and heroine coupling like hungry animals. You looked at me and smiled. I smiled too. It was a sort of code. One that promised something new. Hot and tantalising.

The scene over, the movie held little interest for us, so we came out of the movie room, where the whole larger family was watching a Sunday film on TV, just days ahead of an uncle's wedding.

"You saw?" You were definitely the bolder of the two of us.
"Er… yes," I was a bit tongue-tied.
"We should try it sometime," you said, your thin red lips curling into a smile like a snake slithering on a still waters.
"Yes… we must," I said, my heart beating like grasshopper wings.

The grasshopper feeling was realised the next day. On a hot summer afternoon, when everybody was asleep. You had no fear of being caught. You probably had all your alibis in place. We were in an unoccupied room where only a curtain separated us from shame and exposure.

"We are just married, okay. And it's our honeymoon," you explained and started to strip. "Now you pretend you're taking my pictures," and you began striking poses I had only seen on poster models.
"Okay, darling, I am tired now… let's sleep now," you smiled your red curly smile again. "But why are you still wearing your clothes… take them off… it's our honeymoon, no?"
Soon I was naked too, trembling to the touch of your skin against mine. Naked we kissed and caressed each other. Till we ran out of ideas. So we napped naked before waking up and going back to the rest of the clan.

I was guilt-ridden, after all you were my sister, no matter how distant. But you were back to being your blithe self. You stirred something in all of us. In your heart you probably knew that you were the hidden reason behind a lot of fights between us brothers, cousins. And you'd play us all together and individually: catching, like a child genius, on our peculiar weaknesses.

Later as a teenager, I remember once convincing you to come home with us during the summer break. I promised you movies, music and some trips to the new water park in my city. But there was a hidden agenda. Of being able to finish the love scene that we started years ago.

But this time you were playing someone else. Another cousin from my mother's side. I sulked but I can't even say you were totally callous. You played me too, but whenever you found the time. And I regretted getting you with us.

When you left, you left with a promise of keeping in touch. And you did, but it was mostly to tell me about your current boyfriend.

Soon after our class XII results, we got news that you had eloped. The family was livid. Search parties were sent out in different cities to look for you. I was part of one too, more curious than vengeful. But it was all a wild goose chase. Your plans were like a film script.

It happened a few months before your 18th birthday. And as soon as you turned 18, you were married in a secret ceremony where no-one from our side of the family was present.

In the years that followed the beautiful rebel in you turned into a devoted housewife and mother and all our childhood fantasies were erased like chalk stories from a blackboard.

This Monday I got another piece of news about you. That you had left your husband and two kids... forever.

In these last six months of your life you had been like an upside down drip bottle, slowly emptying out of its contents to those around you. I never visited you in hospital because I didn't want to change my last image of you… But Pa did. And he admired your strength when you told him that you'd be back on your feet soon.

Strangely, last night you and I were kids again.

Pushing the envelope… playing wife and husband once again… again without a damn care in the world....

Goodbye and take care Neelu!


  1. what would it be that held neelu to you but never evoked the same from her? if she managed to explore the hues of love, why did u still want to finish what was once just true for both?
    we are immature in years but do we really grow out of certain emotions under the veil of maturity?
    why do we hold on to certain emotions and why only those do never come back to us?

  2. this is the one place where we are not scared to show our real selves. or the selves we want to be..
    all the neelu's beautiful elusive alive have an inexplicable charm. the discarded friends sometimes sit and discuss these and come up with a oh-really-you-too?? feeling... but it's the story of better to have met/felt her, and lost/hurt, than not to have any of it at all.
    and these beings have their own tragic-so-beautiful-that-they-hurt stories of attraction felt-rejected-played with -- too..

    it's about an experience.

    forgive the grammar.

  3. And so she played everyone again.

    Very moving, Dhiraj.

  4. Yes Saptarshi holding on is what makes us pathetic and sublime... sometimes at the same time.

    Methinks, I agree with you... despite the grammar.

    KM as always... a great reader... of meaning!

    Chandi, thanks :)

  5. so u aint all white afterall, huh?
    parts of it got me to smile.. parts of it really touched.
    a delightful read-

  6. Never claimed to be that Bunu...
    Grey's my colour... thought u knew that ;)

  7. Holy flip me. That was gorgeous. I saw everything you described. I felt like I knew her. I feel like I could be her. *I have come to the (very) recent realization that if I were to leave-it would be forever. and I would leave evrything behind. And I, too, have the husband and two children.
    I am so blown away by this story. I don't know how you found me-or why you chose to comment-but I am so glad you did. This post is amazing.

    That is a hell of a long name: how may I properly shorten it?

  8. Holy flip me...that is remarkable. I see her. I see the scenes. I feel like I know her. I feel like I could be her.
    I do not know how you found me-but I am glad you commented. This is amazing! I am fulfilled.

  9. hehe. nah - u were white tiger in my slam book.
    n ya.. eight??? heroes start early...

  10. ~d muchos gracias! Am glad u flipping came :)

    Ur one hellva (s)Mart girl Bunu :D

  11. Hey Great King
    I was looking to see if you had anything new up before the weekend...It is 2AM my time-I am EXHAUSTED...your avatar changed. Like, its still cartoony, but its a different pix.

    See you around, dude.

  12. Grey?
    Not the color I see at all. I associate grey with impending death. You are vibrant, and most definitly alive. I see a radiating color haze surrounding you of violet or it might be orange. I'll have to discover more about you before your color becomes clear to me.

  13. ~d Am just pumping up for the next one... so don't go away

    M, grey's the ultimate colour of life, it's where all the colours (including black) mix and become one.

    River, that's nice to know. Thanks!

  14. If colors could talk, they would.
    Colors are the visual manifestation of moods placed on objects. Each of us emanates color in our aura. Some of us are walking rainbows, some of us are black holes.

  15. The spiritual responses resulting from the death of a loved one are both sad and joyful (it would would be unbearable without the balance).

    This touching piece, which flows from source, to delta to ocean makes it crystal clear why we write.

    Thank you

  16. Dhiraj Uncle this one is for Madhur-
    Madhur your comment was nothing but arrogant, derogatory and bullish in its tone. I dont let ANYBODY bully his way through me. Cute is the last thing i get on guys like you.As a thumbrule i respect bloggers and expect them to do the same. There has been emergence of differing viewpoints umpteen times but never has anyone stooped as low as this.
    i bear you no ill and wish you best.
    Dhiraj- sorry for this one but it was needed.

  17. M... a colour specialist... are we? Cool theory tho :)

    "This touching piece, which flows from source, to delta to ocean makes it crystal clear why we write..." and explain things to back ourselves, things that otherwise would be too huge and too complex to understand. Thanks!

    Bunu, Umm... why this delayed reaction?

  18. coz he's got coment moderation in his blog. hehe.
    n uve told us abt neelu at eight-
    now tell us abt the pinky at 16- n we shall proceed henceforth.

  19. Oh, I have been back-several times. I just missed my personal shout out until tonight.
    I should have something new up by Hell, MY Monday afternoon-whenever the Hell that is for you, Great King.
    You pop back in, too, huh?

  20. somehow 8 year olds making love doesnt cut it for me, sorry but cant respect that kinda love.
    no offences but neelu sounds like one slut and a bitch.
    to leave her kids, she just aint a mother.

  21. We don't know when it is our time to go. We have to go when we are called no matter how we may fight it.

    We are all sexual beings. Neelu conformed to what society as a whole tells us we (women) should be -- perfect daughter, perfect wife, perfect mother. One can find great wholeness in passing life and wings to their own child - a love unlike any other.

  22. Bunu, later... later

    ~d. Great stuff u got there... i'll keeping poping back

    Raghav, my friend, I think u'r problem is more with the English language... I suggest a re-read!

    M, ur a great reader thanks, once again

  23. You are too kind. But don't stop!

  24. wow. M- awesum.
    dhiraj- bhoo hoo. cant wait

  25. wow that really held me to the end, you left childhood in many ways that day I think

  26. yes ok misread the exit bit, still the 8 yr old bit troubles me...
    but now i can understand you better !

  27. Sometimes we need a reminder at how fragile life is.

  28. seemed a bit controversial to me initially, but an interesting read nonetheless.. don't know what else to say.

  29. Cool blog, interesting information... Keep it UP » »


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