Image Courtesy: Naina Raheja
Roadtrips have often been a source of nostalgia for me. But seldom have they been a prediction in the manifestation of a dream. A day before, I traveled with a group of friends to a familiar hillock. Mesmerized by the darkness and a consistently flashing indicator lights from the car we were in, the environment, the canvas in front of my eyes reminded me of flash memoir I had written for someone who I really don’t care much about. Haven’t had a word with that woman for a long time and I don’t intend to.
There she was sitting beside, with me in her parents car, while her sister who was 5 years younger found her place next to me on the other end of the back seat. While I indulged in small talk to engage with her parents and her sister to kind of get the conversation going, she opened the window, put her hands on the window pane. her head slightly outside the designated safe spot, embracing the cold chills that the Highway had to offer. At that moment, that particular moment, a man like me who searches for muses wherever he can, finds inspiration not only to write about how gorgeous, confident and seamlessly beautiful she looked at that moment, but even 5 years on she doesn’t let you down, as a writer, she’s the perfect subject.
Much like an artist, who breathes oxygen in every stroke that he/she makes with the brush, her hair, blowing in the wind painted beautiful pictures of eternal happiness and fortitude. Why wouldn’t she, when the highway conspires to give you the spell of muse you have been craving for, as if for generations. The highway made sure the wind entered the car, and as she put her head back in, her hair was not only an artistic mess, but ended up on my face. And much like the sport she was, she couldn’t quit letting her hair enter my space, she made no intention of giving up in front of my valiant fake protests. Her sister, of course, party to the sibling rivalry that every siblings go through, wanted to intervene by scolding her, but ended up giving up in front of her smile and followed suit.
God had been kind to her. Her parents as well. She not only was the talk of the drama troop we were in, for her elegance, but she made a mark every time she delivered a strong protagonist’s speech. From a novice she ended up becoming a confident, composed actress. And while she didn’t take it up as a profession, and that she wasn’t meant for the movies, she still mesmerizes people wherever she goes. If you were a man looking for someone who was more confident than you, she’d be the right person in your life, but she’d be the one choosing you for the weirdest of reasons. Her reason for choosing me was that I needed her more than she needed me. A personal psychiatrist of sorts, but poles apart from either studying or practicing it. We parted for mature reasons. She’d known too much about me. And when you know too much about some person in a relatively less span of time, more like 3 months. And the fact that I had already graduated from the institution, left more spaces than walls to mend them. We eventually separated happily.
Ankita never spoke to me again about us. It was a ‘fling’. Nothing physical, more of an emotional healing. Someone who did not argue, who’d always make the sharpest criticism in the nicest way. And that would have an effect. That always did. She had been a colleague. She knew my mental state and what I felt or did not feel. She made me proud of my own skin. She healed others. She did not antagonize anyone. She loved the world and the people in it. She’s way ahead of me in her career, her intensity and her willingness to adapt. Birmingham was made for her. At least it kept her away from me. She had gone with the wind. Memories fade away, but there are people out there who accept you for who you are and that’s all that matters. And that’s wy she’ll be remembered.