Before Sunset

The last time I was here in T2, Bombay, was two years ago. Almost exactly two years ago. Num was returning from the UK and she had decided to, just like that, make a stop here. I’d come to pick her up from the airport. We spent the afternoon in her room, talking about movies. About how she had a lot of wine in the flight and had to keep going to the loo. About how Deepika Padukone was in the same flight. About Brandon Sullivan, Dean and Cindy, about what they mean to us, and by extension, hat we mean to each other.

We went to marine drive that evening, sat on the stone parapet, and talked. About people. About UK. About sunsets. About being free. A little bit about the pain we’d been holding within. We saw a Saint Bernard just after talking about how wonderful Saint Bernards are.

It was my own Before Sunset, literally as well as figuratively.

Then it began raining like the gods above had had too much free champagne, and in the bluish yellow colour of the air, we saw an old couple hug each other and enjoy it. I said “fuck the umbrellas” and we both got drenched, with the widest grins on our faces, as we saw kids run around in the rain. We walked around searching for a nice hotel to eat dinner at. We walked towards flora fountain and went close to the stock exchange, where zomato told us that there was a good hotel. There, they played Metallica’s Turn The Page while we had blood on the rooftops, got tipsy, shivering from the rain’s coldness and giddy with happiness. We were a little scared while walking back because it was a very deserted area. We held each other close. We took a train back to Andheri. It was practically empty, the train was moving fast and it was windy and cool. In that moment, we both held hands, and she asked if I would mind her falling asleep. I said I would wake her up when it’s time to get off. She slept off on my shoulder, and I sat there, soaking in the cocktail of the cold Bombay night wind, her smell, her warmth, and the sight of lights passing by. We got off at Andheri and waited in a long line to catch an auto back. We waited, holding hands, and it was the most natural thing to do. When I dropped her off, she gave me a kiss on my cheek and went in. I went back home.

Magic was made the last time I was here. There were no labels. We weren’t a boy and a girl, a man and a woman, young and young. We went expecting nothing, and found joy and peace in each other’s company. That’s when the joy tastes purest, sweetest. When it is found with no expectations or hopes. Just like that unexpected rain. Maybe it rained just for us that evening. It’s with that feeling that I fell in love with her.

Two years later, here I am, praying with all my might that everything will be okay, that some day, I won’t have only these memories, that I won’t lose her.

A flight to where she lives is boarding from the very next gate. If circumstances were even the slightest bit different, I’d have even borrowed money to get a last minute ticket, and run in. But I must wait. Wait and hope. When you have nothing, that’s when you turn to hope. This is how everything has come full circle for me. I fell for her when I had nothing. Now I sit in a flight, filled with hope because I have nothing. It’s 6 in the morning and the sun is rising. That gives me just a little more hope, for some reason.

Instrumental versions of ABBA’s songs are playing in the stationary aircraft waiting to take off. I pray that, unlike Toru Watanabe, this does not become my Norwegian Wood. But all the reminiscing that I’m doing, it’s conjuring up a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach.

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