‘Would you stop talking for a while?’ Siddharth ground out wiping the beads of sweat off his forehead. He was lying on the floor, his back along the cool red stone floor in a tiny flat above the shops in Kamla Nagar. His girlfriend, Trisha, had a made a habit of nagging him about the parties he threw for his classmates at Delhi University. He spent too much, he drank too much, and he flirted too much. Nothing is too much in youth and all that had been going for him in the recent past had been his youth. Trisha did not understand and now she went on talking about one or the other of her favourite authors and the nature of desire in her works interrupting constantly his well not train of thought neither was he sleeping but the dull thudding of his heart keeping beat with the thoughtless whirring of his brain. Numbed by worries like university appointments and rent and food he did not have very many thoughts. He wanted a bit of quiet to feel the cool floor.
There was silence in the room the kinds that exists between lovers who clearly don’t love each other have just had a tiff. There is something oddly comfortable about it if you like that sort of thing. Trisha lifted her hair in a bun disappointed and annoyed in equal parts. She had made a habit of talking about female desire in a sort of casual open way as it made her feel French and mysterious, all things Eva Green and didn’t men love her. Imagining herself to be someone whose wit lay in pre-coital one-liners, mysterious and seductive, she made up her mind to get a haircut that evening. The stolid inactivity made her impatient and the scorching sun outside the curtained window on her right made her lethargic. She thumbed the yellow green patterned curtains which stood in a stark contrast to the monochrome walls and furniture barring his Mickey Mouse bed sheet. The rest of the room was in dull shades of brown and grey, two wooden cabinets on either side of the room full of empty liquor bottles, a brown desk on the left of the bed and a grey steel armoire on the opposite end of the bed. Beside that on the right was a stack of mostly unread uncreased newspapers covered in dust and on the left was a rack overflowing with neatly stacked books. Trisha looked about the room finally setting her eyes on the book rack and the piles of books on the floor.
They had first met at a party thrown by a common friend. This friend Ashish not only had the fortune of being rich but also having liberal parents to an only son. The neighbours to his studio apartment in Civil Lanes had stopped complaining about the constant music and the flow of twenty somethings over the years. It was his going away party that the two of them found themselves and later romanticised it as the beginning of their Gatsbian romance. The greatness however had soon faded away or finally exposed itself to have always been missing and soon they were together because they were bored and for the same reason smoked. Trisha thought it very witty of herself to proclaim at a party once that she smoked only when she was bored and didn’t know what else to do with her fingers.
‘I wonder what happened to Ashish,’ said Trisha breaking the silence of the room as she took out the last Marlboro Light and clicked the purple lighter. Siddharth hmmd and was finally brought to attention after a minute or two of thought, ‘who’s Ashish now?’
‘Array our Man Wilder. How can you not remember him? Siddharth, who is Trisha?’
‘The girl I am currently fucking. Have you met her?’ was his response abandoning the topic of Ashish almost entirely wishing it was any time of the day but afternoon because it really was too hot to even kiss.
‘We are out of cigarettes. You wouldn’t have me talk. I guess I am left to my own devices,’ she said as her right hand slid into boxers she had borrowed from Siddharth and her imagination to that of the forbidden. ‘Maybe a professor. And I am a student in a tiny school uniform,’ she wondered aloud.
‘Schools don’t have professors and universities don’t uniforms.’
‘But I do have some imagination.’
Siddharth wandered back to a thoughtlessness that he had grown very fond of over the past few years. He could hear the faint moaning of Trisha and thought how initially he had found her not only sexy but amusing. Sure she had an asymmetrical face with a nose too small and eyes too big so that she always looked startled; on afternoons such as these the bored languid look hardly suited her. He thought of first sentences of novels and tried recalling his first sentence to her. He remembered it was something regarding animals and even recalled thinking at the time that she reminded him of Midori but could not recollect what is it that he first uttered to her that set the tone of the relationship. His mind now meandered to what his last sentence to her would be; ‘I’m sorry,’ if he triumphed in the game or ‘Please don’t leave me,’ if he lost? Too exhausted to mull over this tennis match he drifted into a day dreamy sleep.
Trisha had been watching him and his eyes which looked most rested in their natural state when shut; they could otherwise after some hard work could only attain a half shut state. She laughed at the anomaly bringing Siddharth back to the crummy room with red stone floor.
‘I want to break up.’
‘And I want a smoke. Get one from one of your flatmates. Please’
Not pleased, Siddharth stood up regardless, regretting the loss of contact with the floor. When he came back with a Classic Regular Trisha looked almost delighted.
‘So how do you want to go about it?’
‘Go about what?,’asked Siddharth as he plonked himself on the bed against the curtained window.
‘Pass the smoke. Moi needs nicotine. My beloved breaketh up with me.’
They passed the cigarette between themselves till the butt burnt their lips and was ultimately crushed between Trisha’s fingers and the hitkari cup they used as an ash tray. The yellow green curtain was now swaying violently revealing in random intervals the sky covered with black clouds. The tropic heat of the day had passed into an equatorial rainfall, cooling in one stroke all that nature had burnt in the course of the day. The walls, the human bodies within seemed to steam off with this cool shower and life didn’t seem so impossible after all.
‘It never rains but it pours.’
‘It’s raining cats and dogs.’
‘The weather is as right as rain,’ dinged Siddharth as he moved towards Trisha.
‘Can I take a rain check?’
With this the two of them grinned to each other and fell to passionate kissing.
‘Oh no not that…yeah okay…you know this reminds me something…you almost look like that actor…argh what’s his name…’
‘Would you stop talking for a while?’
‘I would if I could.’
‘Let’s have some music because you’re becoming a mood-killer by the minute,’ whispered Siddharth as he moved towards the laptop.
‘It’s not the mood you’re worried about but the noisy expression of our passionate lovemaking,’ declared Trisha grandly in a manner she thought Cleopatra would.
Dear reader beyond this I did not have access inside the room and only a few strains of Highway to hell were heard, when Trisha protested against the choice of music using some unmentionable expletives and the music was acquiescently was changed to a Edith Piaf.