Thursday, July 12, 2001

Kats, Rains and The Woods

N… has a tough time explaining to friends and neighbours why S… chooses to take off to Mumbai always over a weekend. Surely it can't be work - they all agree and none is willing to buy the rather wet-excuse that, he loves to watch the rains from his Gulita guest-house window. That's something he could have done as well in Kats, which has a pretty good monsoon of its own - tho' it may not be quite the "real stuff". But, to miss all those farewell lunches and dinners, in the bargain, makes no sense at all - they insist. The inquisitors are further outraged when he goes on to wax lyrical about ultimate ethereal beauty of the mating of the sea and the clouds. As the dark gray clouds ( is that why they are called "rain-bearing" ? ) move over the dusky Arabian waters, nature takes on a lusty hue that's not to be seen anywhere else in the world. Foreplay over, when he finally touches down to kiss her dark tresses and she - in protest and excitement -lashes her waves on the concrete promenades of Worli Sea face, spraying mist all over - it makes for one of the most exquisitely sublime scene of love making that the mind can imagine. Not being given to spurious poetry - the 'Set-nic' mind concludes that this is clearly a case of transposition of experience and demands to know who the real 'woman' is.

It was the 12th of July - another angry monsoon day exactly 6 years ago. 2 identical navy blue Marutis were doing a fast crawl, ant-like, up the Khandala ghats on the way to Pune. S… was leading the way with Abba in the first car, in the back seat was Sharada - the "Nanny-on-Loan" whom Amma had brought along from Calcutta. Behind them, in the second, was little Jaya - then all of 8 months old, perched like a tiny doll on her Amma's comforting lap, the first outing of her life, blissfully clueless about the 'journey' she had embarked upon. Her 'Ranjit-chacha' was on the wheels, with N… sitting next to him as the 'trying-to-be-helpful' navigator making sense of the winding road through the slitting rain. The same morning Amma-Abba (S…'s parents ) had arrived from Kolkata by the Howrah Mail with Sharada in tow. Pradeep-Gauri (Chatterjee ) had taken them home to Bandra, where N & S arrived a little later with their bundle of 'Joy(a)' via the Math in Khar. The previous evening they had attended the 'service' the Sisters had specially kept for their chosen one and in the morning when they went to formally 'receive' her - she had been dressed-up like a bride-to-be, bonnet et all. At the Chat's Jaya shared a meal with their daughter - coincidentally, also named Joyeeta and roughly the same age - and tippled a little on her friend's bottle of Triominic ( a paedeatric antihistamine syrup ) to get ready for the long car-ride, being a little down under the weather.

When the cars reached "The Woods" in Koregaon Park it was already evening. The sky had begun to clear and the full moon of 'Guru Purnima' ( the day Amma had chosen ) peeped through the spanish-windows of the flat to have a look at the treasure she had brought home to the Ghoses - as Ranjit raised a "Royal Salute" to his niece's 'home-coming' with the vintage bottle that Didi (N..'s sister) had gifted many years ago - preserved, unknowingly, just for such an occasion.

There goes the secret of another 'woman' in S..'s life.