Sunday, February 21, 2010

Shalini, the girl of his dreams

He softly murmured to himself, "She is still beautiful" and quickly bit his tongue for he didnt want her to know that he was there. He stood there watching her run around the room, barefoot. She lifted her saree a little bit as she sat on the corner of the bed, His gaze fell upon her ankle and he was suddenly dissapointed. No, it wasnt there. She had promised him that she would never take that anklet out. He had stolen money from his mother's purse and had bought a thin silver anklet for her. And she had loved it. But it was no longer there. Now he was feeling guilty. He shouldn't have come. Maybe she doesn't love him anymore. Maybe she has even forgotten him. Maybe he would frighten her if he came out. So he decided to remain in hiding. But he knew that the thin curtain wouldn't be able to keep him hidden for long. He had to find some other place to hide without grabbing her attention. He glanced at her from behind the curtain. Though he couldn't clearly see what she was doing but he could see her curvy back resting on the bed. She had grown into a fine woman, he realised. How much he wanted to hold her. How much he wanted to take her in his arms. How much he wanted to kiss her pink lips. The taste of the lipstick she wore 13 years back still lingered in his mouth. He had to control his impulse. Or else his life would be ruined.


"Shalu, will you marry me?", Anand asked. He looked very serious. He did not have money to buy a ring for her, so he thought he would just ask her. He had fallen head over heals in love with her. She was HIS Shalini. Only his. He noticed the silence which had suddenly come in between.

He asked her again, "Tell me..."

She smiled. "Ofcourse I will marry you." And she giggled.

He was happy. He hugged her tight. And he kissed her hard. He knew that he was still 15 years old and she was 14. But he had fallen in love with her the day her family moved into that big house near the river. Her father was rich. And she always wore good clothes. Even her lipstick tasted so sweet. He could never match her standards. He knew that. But he couldn't control his love for her.

"Take out your sandals and put your feet here", he pointed to the small rock in front of her.

She obediently did that. And he took out the silver anklet and slid it over the soft skin on her ankles. He saw the glea in her eyes. He knew that she had loved it.

"I will always wear it. No matter where you are, this gift will always remind me of you", she said with tears in her eyes.

And he hugged her. For five minutes both of them fell silent. And then she asked, "Where did you get the money from?"

"Maa gave it to me"


He had lied then. But only because he had loved her, That was the first gift he had bought for her. And then the gifts continued. And the money never came through him. He looked at her. She was no longer on the bed. He had been lost in his thoughts for too long. The teak wood dressing table next to the bed had a huge oval mirror above it and she stood there watching herself.

He wanted to dash towards her. He really felt the urge. But what would he say. How could he prove his love when he was guilty of the crime he committed 13 years ago. Her father had handed him over to the police. He had been caught stealing that gold necklace which belonged to her grandmother. He wanted to sell it and buy gifts for his Shalini. But he was caught. And today, after spending 13 years in the jail, he was finally a free man. He came straight to her house. He wanted to see her. 13 years he had spent away from her. And today she was standing right in front of his eyes.

"Mansi", a female voice called out. Standing at the door of the room was a women with a big red mark on her forehead and a baby in her arms. "Mansi, I am back". And she rushed towards the dressing table.

He was confused. Mansi turned away from the mirror and opened her arms to greet the woman.

She looked at the baby in that woman's arms and exclaimed, "Look at him. Sound asleep in his mothers arms." She smiled and looked at the woman with the baby, "I am so glad that you came, Shalini"