It was about to rain as I waited for the bus. A woman came and sat next to me on the bench. She was about fifty and looked like a middle class housewife. She looked harried and lost as she rummaged through her old black bag. It looked like a letter that she folded and placed it into her coat pocket. An old rickety bus stopped and she hopped into it.
The bus moved away. I saw a piece of folded paper next to me. The woman must have left it behind. I reached out for the letter which was crumbled and looked tear stained. It read :
My dear Leena,
I think it’s about time we end this little episode of ours. I need to get back to my life and you to yours. It is better this way. Too many people could be hurt. What will society say? I will miss you sorely but keep you in my heart.
My heart went out to her. She must be heading back to her loveless life and the rigmarole of being a housewife. There must be so many souls out there looking for love and happiness – at any given point of age and time.
Three important songs in my life, now let me think and go back to my childhood days. Yes, the song that I learnt was ‘Ba Ba Black Sheep, have you any wool, yes sir yes sir, 3 bags full…’ A nursery rhyme – don’t know if you can call it a song. Anyway, I must have been really small. My mother tongue wasn’t English and began learning it from the first day at school and this song was the first song I learnt at that young age. It didn’t make any sense to me but I opened my mouth as I tried copying the others. Goodness, I never saw a sheep before so couldn’t contemplate what a wool was. I was living in Singapore at that time and we all know it’s bang on the equator – hot and humid. I guess this is the first English song everyone in the world who learns English learns to sing. But I sang it anyway with the same intonation that the Singaporean teacher taught. Till now I wonder why 3 bags of wool was needed. Coming to the second song – Humpty Dumpty. The big eggs all dressed up amazed me. Now why would eggs be decorated in the first place, I wondered. I also wondered why all the king’s horses and men could not put HD together again – now I realize – the eggs were broken after their fall! I guess children never ask why at that age and the teachers do not feel obligatory to explain. Now I really can’t think of the third song. Yes, there is a local song, quite an old one indeed. It begins the word – best wishes – plenty of it – to her lost lover. She is then leaving him with a shawl full of tears as evidence of her love for him. She keeps on giving him good wishes for having been in a relationship which makes me cry whenever I hear this song. I leave you to judge the sins and good deeds of us both, love and trust whether big or small too. In return, for your happiness, I am leaving you. I am crying as I leave. You can walk upon my tears as you would on dirty water. I have climbed high peaks to gain your belief and trust but the landslides on my chest brought me falling down to the main road where I am walking away now. There is nothing about winning or losing here but I am leaving in defeat today. Life is, after all, a play of sunshine or shadows , my best wishes and greetings to you again. Goodbye.
I’d like to take you to a lakeside town in Pokhara where I visited the Begnas Lake some time ago. I vision myself building a log cabin next to the lake. The room would look straight into the lake and the nearby hilly areas. The view would be the greenish blue lake unfrequented by tourists. I see a tiny little wooden boat to be used only when I need to. Otherwise, throughout the day I’d be writing or sailing through the wilderness.
That ‘room with a view’ would be my dream come true.