It was ten minutes ago. I finished my final task for the day at my office and decided to head out early. Just as I opened the glass door, a pleasing chill swept across my face. Suddenly the day’s stress vanished and I felt like humming a tune. I walked a few blocks towards the market: that’s when the evening sky caught my eye. It was an evening not very different from this, and the time too. Wait a minute, is it September yet? I pulled out my PDA and what do you know, 1st September, 2014! Memories of that day flooded my head. I felt that strange feeling all over again.
Nine years ago. It was a September like this. I don’t remember the date. It was in Darjeeling. My second year of college. I remember I had a fight scheduled that evening. I don’t know why was I supposed to fight these guys but I was pumped. I was challenged to meet them at Chowrasta, the local tourist attraction and a common meeting destination for the locals. So there I was, sitting on the iron bench in front of the ATM besides Amigos, the coffee shop. I was all worked up and waiting for the guys. I was trying to focus when a girl walked past me and sat on my bench at the other end. I looked at her. She seemed upset. Then I noticed her clothes. A jacket, jeans, shoes and a backpack. She did not seem to be interested in trying to impress anyone, but what caught my eye was the fact that she had duck-taped her jacket along the sides. Wow, I said to myself.
I looked closer and saw her eyes glisten in the evening light. She was about to cry, definitely. Any moment now…
That’s when she turned her head towards me and said: What’s wrong with you jerk? What are you looking at?
I didn’t know what to say.
“I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to…”
“Shut up!” She exclaimed.
“What’s your name?” She demanded.
I told her my name.
She said it is nice but decided to call me ‘Tweety’.
“Wait, what? No way and why would you call me anything. I don’t even know you.”
“Ok Tweety, so here’s the deal. Go get me some ice cream from Amigos, and remember, I like chocochip or black forest. Do not bring vanilla, and get one for yourself too”.
“Ummm think I’ll pass.” I replied bluntly.
What happened next I shall never forget. She reached out her left hand towards me and pinched my arm so hard, shit turned blue.
“What the fish?”, I was in shock.
“Go get me my ice cream”, she said with her grieving doe coloured eyes.
I didn’t think twice. I went in and got two of them. It was chilling and we were having ice-cream. The tourists and passerby were looking at us as though we were from Mars or something. I had never had ice cream in the cold but I wasn’t complaining. As we were doing so, I saw the boys approaching. I was in fight mode almost instantly. I dropped the ice cream cone and got up with clenched fists. I told her to leave as it was not safe for her. She got up too and said,
“hello boys, you must be friends of Tweety here. I’m sorry but we are on a date so I’m going to have to steal him away for today. Is that alright with you guys?”
I died a little right there. They chuckled and said, he’s all yours and left.
“Why did you do that? Do you know what you just did. I’m done here. My life is ruined ….”
“Promise me Tweety”, she interrupted my overreaction, “promise me you shall never fight again, ever in your life”. I was confused. “What do you care?”
“Just promise me will you? God, you are so annoying.” I saw her reaching out to pinch me again, so I hurriedly said, “I promise, I promise”
“Good, now come let’s take a walk”
I thought to myself, No, I’m not doing that with a stranger, but we got up and started walking anyway. We headed towards Kaventers, and ordered tea.
“So a Physics guy huh?” She said.
“How the hell did you know”, I was puzzled.
She said, “well I could see the limited edition – peace love physics badges on your bag. Where did you get that? They aren’t even supposed to be out till December .”
She added,”I know light travels faster than sound so we see lightning before we hear it, but why does lightning produce the crackling sound anyway, Mr. Einstein, I always wondered that?”
I was about to answer that but I realised I didn’t really know why! I was instantly impressed.
She enquired who else were there at home. Being a science student, I started in descending order of age, “there’s Aaji- my granny and….”, she stopped me right there and said, “tell me about her, your Aaji.”
So I started, ” well she loves me a lot and takes care of me. Constantly nags me regarding food, studies, future I feel irritated sometimes, you know?”
She stopped and jammed a tight spank across my face and this time she meant to hurt. She seemed infuriated by what I said.
“Tweety, you are a good guy. Don’t be a jerk ok. Always respect a lady, specially the ones in your life. You don’t even realise how much they love you and put up with each day for you. Always love and respect them. Never break a lady’s heart or God will punish you severely. If you are travelling by a bus and you see a lady standing, be a man and offer your seat. If you see a lady being disrespected, stand up for her. You will do this won’t you Tweety?”
I was touched and said yes, and from within I meant it. This girl was blowing my mind away.
“I’m sorry for the slap, okay”?
Hmmm.. I said
She started with the history of tea plantation in Darjeeling. I soon was bored and was lost in the colours of the sky and lights of streets and homes being lit up. It’s was so mesmerising and together with the flavour of the tea took me to some place else, when suddenly this sharp pinching pain at the same place as before brought me back to her.
“Always listen to a lady with full of your attention when she is speaking to you. You got that?”
I agreed and so I did. Admits the conversation I lost track and was staring at her bosoms when she flipped. “What are you doing man?”
I was so embarrassed and apologised but she continued. “Looking at a woman’s breasts is an art. It’s like looking at the sun. You don’t stare at it. You turn your face towards it, take a whiff and then turn away. It’s pretty basic.”
My jaws dropped. She was amazing.
We then started to walk towards Chowrasta again, along the road. When we came across Das studios, she stood in front of its glass window and pointing at a huge white teddy bear, said, “Tweety I want you to buy that teddy bear for me and keep it with you. You should name it Motee Kanchi. You got that?”.
“It seems expensive. I’ll need to collect my pocket money for that. That will take time. What if it’s sold by then?” I pointed out. She smiled at me and said, “I’ll make sure it’s not sold but you will have to make sure you buy it”. It was unanimous and seeing her smiling face made me happy. We were walking up the road, slowly. We were in no hurry. Looking at the eye catching souvenirs being sold along side. We didn’t talk, we just walked. Finally when we were near Chowrasta, opposite to Ajit Mansion she stopped and told me to buy her a pair of mittens. I denied. She ground her teeth together and from between them, she said in an angry and muffled voice and hand gesturing the pinch, “DO YOU WANT SOME? JUST BUY IT!”
It was the last of my pocket money. I was officially broke for the month. She then said that it was her birthday that month and that this was my birthday present to her. She also said that she liked her present very much and thanked me for my gesture. I just couldn’t understand her but she seemed happy and it felt nice.
It was growing dark now. Chowrasta was bustling with tourists and locals alike. She asked how far do I have to travel to get home, before I could answer that she further added, “speaking of travel, I’m going to let you in on a secret, you can keep a secret, right?”
I was curious so I nodded yes.
“Alright, don’t tell anyone but I have travelled in time from future to come meet you.”
“Okay, here we go” I thought to myself.
“Yes and due to butterfly effect, we shall forget about each other as soon as I travel back into the future. Only the memories of these moments we spent together shall remain in our subconscious minds. Now listen to me very carefully. Since we will not recognise each other when we meet in the future, I want you to remember this. Whenever you feel an instant connection with a girl, the kind when you know you two know each other since years and find that there are so many things common between you two, persuade her and never ever let her go okay? If she is in pain, ease that for her, if she needs a friend be a friend, if she is happy, smile with her. Once you have found her, don’t let anything shake you okay? Because that girl will be me and we are soul-mates. We are destined to be together. Do you understand?”
I nodded in awe.
“Mind you, you have to be very determined because you won’t remember me and will have to follow your heart, because your heart will recognise me. Can you do that?”
“Yes I can”, I said.
“Good then”, she said and smiled. We started walking again.
I was hungry and proposed to eat. She complied and asked where. I loved to eat syea falley opposite to horse stables so wanted to go there. I could make out she didn’t want to go.
We ordered some hot dumplings and syea falley. As we ate, she told me that she was a firefly. Not the real ones, as seen under a magnifying glass, those were ugly. She was the animated kind. The kind who is only shown as a speck of light in the movies. She said this in such a manner that I wanted to believe it to be real. I think some part of me did. She further said that she was also a snowflake and that was a different story altogether and would tell me some other time.
After that she suggested a walk around the Mall Road. It was dark now. Not many people were there. I felt a strange connection with this girl that I had only met this evening. Stars had come out and I was trying to recognize the constellations and was talking about astronomy, and how it fascinated me. I was trying to impress her and I could make out she was amused by the look on her face. We reached the open space in front of the Governors house when she stopped, leaned towards me and kissed me under those constellations. She broke the kiss almost as suddenly and she started walking again. I stood there for a second clueless then ran to catch up to her. She then said, “Tweety I hope you will recognise me when we meet in the future. And when you do, you will not give up on me, right?”.
I just took her hand and we kept walking. When we reached St. Andrew’s church, she said that we should pray. So we faced the church from the road. She told me to shut my eyes tight and that it was important not to peak for our prayer to be herd. I folded my hands and shut my eyes. She started to pray.
Dios, estoy tan agradecida hoy. Le gustó al instante, pero eso también me da un sentimiento de culpa. después de tanto tiempo, no estoy seguro de si todavía estoy enamorada de él. No estoy listo señor, pero algún día voy a ser, y si lo hizo para mí, sé que le va a enviar de vuelta en mi vida. Estoy dejando todo en sus manos y aceptaré lo que decida por mí porque tiene un propósito en mi vida.
“Now we shall remain silent for a minute, okay. Do not open your eyes. Got it, or else….”
“Okay okay” I said.
I asked her if I could open my eyes after a while but she didn’t respond. I asked again, same. Then I opened my eyes but she was gone. I looked around. There were four different roads leading to four different directions. I didn’t know where to look for her.
TRANSLATION FOR THE PRAYER
god, I’m ever so grateful today. I liked him instantly but that’s also giving me a feeling of guilt. after all this time, I’m not sure if I still am in love with him. I’m not ready lord, but someday I will be, and if you made him for me, I know you will send him back in my life. I’m leaving everything in your hands and will accept what you decide for me because you have a purpose in my life.