This post O for Osmosis is written as part of ‘#AtoZChallenge’: Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.
The local halted at Andheri. I shouted in Marathi to commuters, ‘Kure Chala’ to wriggle my way out when I almost crashed on a tall girl, twirling with her hair lock and walking at leisure pace on the platform. She grew furious and almost blasted me she stopped in her track with her mouth wide open as if a devil in human form has appeared in front of her.
“Oh!! My…my…what are you doing nowadays?’ she laughed.
I tried to shirk the topic but ended blurting out that I am looking for work. We exchanged phone numbers and in the flick of time we started dating casually. We held hands in the jam-packed local trains and I often stepped in front of her and flitted behind to hold her by the waist, stealing a kiss on her lip.
We held tightly to each other, our backs planted on the wall at Gateway of India, cusped to each other’s lips, oblivious of the waves crashing behind us and water spluttering on our hair and faces. It felt so romantic and perfect.
We travelled in red-coated BEST Buses and locals, admiring the scenery in Mumbai and our eyes swarming to the old flats bearing stint of mud and decay past the railway. We would sit atop the double decker bus, ambled at Marine Drive and waded its way in the heart of Mumbai traffic . We would laugh and tell ourselves that one day we would own the expensive high rises and the city, albeit, dining in the expensive ITC hotel.
We plopped our feet in the puddle of water at Nariman Point and water splash caressed our faces, like a sprinkle of timeless romance. We ambled our way, walking a long distance in hand. Her birthday was coming and it hit me one day when I sneaked her diary out of the leather bag she always carries with her. I don’t have cash in my pocket to see her smile.
I stood for hours like a statue at the newly opened department store at South Mumbai, scanning all their moves. After waiting for a while and losing patience, it was time to hit the cudgel. I flipped my light purse and frustration gnawed on me that like my life it’s empty. I’ve been going dutch for months now.
After all, I am meeting Koyal in an hour and something must be done. I winked at the attractive girl at the cash counter and slipped my purse beneath the drawer. I knew she wouldn’t be able to pull it. I convinced her to let me in so that I can pull it. She stepped aside and soon she became occupied with an old lady haggling over an expensive gold earring. It’s now or never, I thought. My hands are trembling. I opened the drawer in a jiffy and flicked thousands of crisp notes. I looked around when I heard the siren. I was caught on camera. The security guys heckled me out. The owner was livid and called the cops. Three policemen stormed the luxurious department store, armed with guns as if I was a hardened terrorist.
As I was ushered in the police van, I started praying that Koyal shouldn’t know that I was caught red handed stealing money to surprise her. After all, it’s her birthday. It came as the biggest shock of my life when Koyal got a hang of my crime and coaxed her director to bail me out. I can’t face myself in the mirror, caught in an osmosis of flurry thoughts…shame, sick, guilt and hating the person that I have become.