Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Treat her gently, my friend

Got a call from an old friend Y.
Said he had come down on a holiday,
from the land of gold diggers.

How about meeting for a beer?
Sure, I say, as any reason or no reason
is good enough
for me to down a tankard.

So here we are, drinking and joking
and generally making silly fools of ourselves.
As normally two old friends do, when
they celebrate their reunion.

But as we get drunker, I find his talk turning
very materialistic. He recounts the
bank balance that he has. How much
he and his wife earn. The house
by the lakeside for which they had paid the
last installment , the new car on which
he had splurged etc. etc. I start feeling
depressed because money is something
that one should state, but never boast to
a friend.

The evening is turning sour and I
wish I had not met my friend at all.
He seemed so changed. So American.
I am looking at my watch when he
springs the question I was waiting for.

How is X ? He asks solicitously.
She is doing fine, I say.
I believe she is still working among some
tribals in Ooty?
That is true. I say.
She still single?
Yes. I agree.

Vino de veritas.
Wine brings out the truth.

Now I understand his reason for
this outing.
It is not to know about me
as much he wanted to know about X,
who was our common friend,
and who had once loved him.

You know, I think you are
her lover, he says with such
an animosity I never had seen in
him before. It is like an animal
side of him.

You are drunk. I say. Because sober,
he wont dream of uttering such nonsense.

Tell me, he asks, you meet her often?
Yes, whenever she comes to town, I say.
I think, he says, you two must be sleeping
together. I laugh at his
preposterous statement. But I am mad. As usual, if
a girl becomes close to a guy, the world thinks
she sleeps with him.
So clichéd.

Between us, he slurs confidentially, tell
me if she is a good lay.
I am about to blow my fuse and
explode and it takes me immense self control,
not to take the beer bottle between
us and smash it on his leering face.

After all, he is also my good friend,
who is just drunk bad.

Enough, I say, suddenly feeling cold
and sober and sick.
Come, Ill drop you home, I offer.
But he don’t want to leave.
It is like he wants the answer for
something that is gnawing his innards.

Tell me, why, she left me? He asks,
Why she refused to come with me?

Because you fool, I tell myself,
her and your destiny
were incompatible, so she let you go.

But of course I don’t say this because
it wont make sense to a sober guy,
and much less to a drunk.

Ha I don’t care, he shouts, as
far as I am concerned, I am happy, I am successful,
he crows. And she can rot with them
tribals , he curses, in their thatch huts among
vermins, dysentery and snakes.

That’s when I knock him
out cold.

You can bitch about
a girls character. You can slander
her reputation.
That’s how loose tongues wag
in this world.

Ok with me.

But never, never, with me,
belittle her ambition, her ideals,
her chasing her own unattainable rainbow.


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