Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Koi Dekh Lega

It was hot summer afternoon but cloudy, an afternoon which looks great on a movie setup but tough on those who have to bear it actually.
Threat of global warming was still few decades away. Indira Gandhi was still the prime minister of India.

Looking back after 3 decades it was one of those days. I was pedaling away dad’s rickety bicycle returning from Christ Church College completely unaware that next one hour will leave an indelible impression on my life.

I lived in Defence Colony Shantinagar in cantonment area of Kanpur. Those who are aware of the landscape would know cantonment area and main city is segregated by a flurry of railway tracks. In those days Mall Road was ‘hot and happening’ place of the city. Mall road would come to an end on one side of the track and cantonmentt would start on other side.
On the way back through mall road once I crossed Heer Palace and Sundar Talkies I would get an adrenaline rush. View of newly constructed fly over (the railway tracks) gave an excitement. Fun of reaching the top and then letting go the control of cycle, coming down on the other side of flyover gaining speed was only matched by having mango shake opposite phoolbagh paying through carefully saved pocket money. I was 17!

There! She was standing in front of Prashanta Chatterjee’s house who had an orchestra party and only competitor to Hellions.
You cannot miss a girl in deserted summer afternoon especially if she is wearing that awful pink coloured skirt, Juhari Devi uniform. You cannot miss even if you wish to, when she is hailing you to stop your charade and alight.

आपको भयया ने मेरे बारे मे कुछ बताया होगा.

You are hit by reality. Standing in front of me was younger sister of Ramesh Saraf. Ramesh was few years senior to me and we all lived in same colony. Ramesh was regular member of our gully cricket and few weeks back he did mention to me about ‘Guddi’. Ramesh wanted me to teach ‘Guddi’ mathematics. I was just few weeks outside class XII and ‘Guddi’ few months in class IX.

थोड़ा उधर चलें? यहाँ कोई देख लेगा.

I assembled my limbs together, rapped my brains for giving confusing signals and followed her towards the road that ultimately goes to lal bangla. It was a strange sight a gangly guy on khaki trousers and a girl with pink skirt walking down a street and a rickety cycle giving them company. I was still on those khaki trousers which were my uniform during XII, new pairs may come only during Durga puja.

मैने सोचा आपको बता दूं. मेरी दादी ने मना कर दिया आपको मुझे गणित पढ़ाने की बात पर. उनका कहना है आपकी उम्र ठीक नही है मुझे पढ़ाने के लिए.
भयया ने आपको कुछ भी बोला हो पर सच यही है.
अब मैं चलती हूँ, आप दूसरे रास्ते से साइकल पर चले जाइए और किसिको बोलिएगा मत की मैं आपसे मिली थी.

I don’t recall if I uttered a single phrase during the entire conversation. Mind had too many things to process and too little time.

17 is indeed a dangerous age. Your mind looks only at possibilities completely ignoring the constraints. Ramesh asked me to teach his sister and asked me for fee amount. I directed him to my father who was aghast at the thought of charging a fee for helping out someone. It was beyond me why my age was a factor. I had no one whom I could ask more so because ‘Guddi’ asked me not to discuss it with anyone.

Few months later ‘Saraf’ family shifted to another colony and less than 2 years later I moved out of Kanpur.
Never met her again after that fateful afternoon.

What the heck I don’t even know what was her school name, certainly it was not ‘Guddi’.

That’s it about my conversation with feminine kind where first time unsaid words had more impact than said one. Over the years I realized that most definitive sign that you have grown up when someone says ‘कोई देख लेगा’