Monday, December 25, 2006

The Suitcase

The Suitcase
Suparna watched Naina fold and bend her long, lovely body the way you a piece of wire. First this way, then that; carefully, neatly, with great precision and concentration and an elegance with which she did everything. It was a pleasure watching Naina do anything, even brush her teeth.
And as she watched, Suparna felt love ooze out of her, pore by pore, and drip slowly on to the cool marble floor on which she sat. Drip, drip, drip. Outside, the freshly washed greenness dripped off the leaves in fat, drunken raindrops. Plop. Plippety-plop. Plop.
Till she met Nania, she never knew it was possible to love somebody like this. I’m supposed to say this about a man, Suparna thought. She squeezed her eyes shut because she had to do something and she felt it ooze out of the corners of her eyes, trickle down her cheeks and join the puddle on the cool, marble floor.
“I don’t believe it! Now why are you crying?”
It was a standing joke among all of them – Suparna’s tendency to cry at the drop of anything. She cried for the usual reasons that women cry - happiness, hurt, depression, PMS, babies, weddings, goodbyes, movies with happy ending, movies with sad endings. And men. (Though the only man in her life was her Dad since she had this unfortunately tendency to fall for men who were either married or cads. Or both.) But she also cried because the malai kofta was so delicious, because Chotu had ironed such a perfect crease into her Dad’s trousers, because her nose belonged to another face, because she hated banana bread, because the ant looked so stupid drowning in the water, because the shopkeeper managed to find the exact shade of salmon pink blouse piece to match her saree, because it was Tuesday. And because…. Sometimes even she didn’t know why…
The truth is, she liked crying, it was both hobby – she never knew there could be so many ways to cry – and also cathartic, not in a King Lear kind of way, but a having good shit kind of way….
These days she cried a lot more because of Naina. At first, she cried because someone like Naina would have anything at all to do with someone like her let alone love her and be her best friend. Not that Naina was very famous or talented or very beautiful. Feature for feature and body part for body part, Suparna was the pretty one. Naina was a dark, almost scrawny girl, with long gangly limbs and huge eyes that swallowed up her tiny face. No tits, almost no backside. And yet, the sum of all those awkward-newly-born-colt parts added up to something so irresistible, so gorgeous that it almost stopped traffic. And it most certainly stopped the men. What was it, Suparana wondered? I mean, I’m fair and 36 C, this little wretch is 32 A. On a good Wonderbra day.
How could anyone’s skin could make you think of chocolate and satin all at once?
(To be continued)