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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Magnolias Still Bloom – Chapter I

 

“A coincidence is a small miracle in which God chooses to remain anonymous.”


She’d sit there for hours, unmoving, with an expression of utmost bliss in her eyes. Quietly, on that old park bench with the peeling red paint, and watching the world go by with her lovely, innocent eyes. She’d always have a smile on her face that would captivate me, and a vaguely sad wistfulness in her eyes that would always intrigue me.


No, don't get me wrong. I've never been the nosey parker or the peeping tom kinds. I am strictly the kind of chap who loves to mind his own business (and I wish others would do it more often). I cordially detest people who go about poking their noses into other peoples' affairs.


I'm not even someone who vies for female company. Somehow, my innate charm and magnetism has always brought women flocking to me in droves. (No exaggeration there at all. I know modesty's a virtue, but so is telling the truth. I don't know what your priorities are, but I believe truth is more important than modesty.)


Anyway, it's not like I’m too fond of observing people's faces. Like I said, I'm a loner. I love to go about my own business, uninterrupted. It's just that... just that.... sometimes one takes a bit of a liking to a particular face, and begins to look upon its owner with a touch of familiarity. And so it came to be.
Slowly, she became my constant in an ever-changing world. Without a word ever being exchanged between us, we must've spoken volumes to each other! Anyway, I began to look upon her as a familiar oasis of happiness in a desert of emotion. And those eyes!! Those eyes had a hue of blue that no artist’s colour palette would ever be able to create. Azure as the ocean, it was the deepest, richest blue I had ever seen. Somehow fascinating. Deeply fascinating.


I was so mesmerised by that colour, that I almost developed a fetish for eyes. I would stare at any woman I came across, and try to see if her eyes were as blue as those of the mysterious girl in the park. (Well... to tell you the truth, for a few days, I even tried looking at the guys who frequented the club down the street. But, I had to give up when I heard one of them tell the other, “I think he's just the right kind for you, Tom. He often hangs around here, why don’t you buy him a drink some time?” Since that day, I have taken a detour that takes me 15 extra minutes, and always given that club a wide berth.)


In my fascination for that shade of blue, I had even driven the suave, talkative salesman at the paint store to the verge of insanity, with my attempts to obtain that perfect shade. After a couple of exasperating hours, when I finally left, he had given me a nasty glare, which looked like it stemmed from a deep-rooted hatred. And if looks could kill, his would definitely have bored two minute holes in the back of my head. (Talk about customer service!! He should've been sorry that he couldn't meet a customer's requirements, and here he was... giving me baleful looks.)


However, the raging fires of my curiousity were still not extinguished. I decided, “If you can't beat them, join them!” So, I decided to frequent the park more often, carrying a newspaper or something with me, so that it wouldn't look like I had nothing better to do, and observe her activities, or rather, the lack of them. I wanted to understand what was so exciting about watching the humdrum, unexciting sight of daily chores being carried out. Once, I thought she caught me looking at her. But no, it must've been my imagination! I pretended to go back to my newspaper, giving it my undivided attention. A few moments later, I sensed someone standing close to me, so I looked up.

 

It was her!! The corners of her mouth twitched with amusement, and she said, "Well mister, you're holding the newspaper upside down."


"Ahem...umm....ah..well...actually, yes...so? There's this picture of mountain gorillas in their natural habitat, and I was just admiring the work from different angles. Is that a problem?" I asked, being the very picture of confidence.


"Not at all! It's great! In fact, why don't you explain the picture to me?" She laughed merrily as she asked.

"Well....uh..actually, you need to view it yourself, and understand it. My explaining it won't help much." (Whew! Quick thinking saves the day!!!)


"Naah, that's ok....you tell me your interpretation, and I'll tell you mine," she said with a hint of mischief.
Realizing that the game was up, I decided to be direct, "Actually, it's not the picture I was looking at. I was wondering what brings you here, each day. It always piques my curiousity, your aloofness to the world, as you avidly gaze at the same people, with bored faces, going through their respective daily routines."


With a bewitching, pearly smile, and a shrug of her shoulders, she had replied, “I think life is so amazing. Each day is a new wonder waiting to be explored. I love watching the little children sweetly prancing about, and listening to the birds sing. And then, I think about how kind God has been, to have so blessed us.”
She flashed another one of her ten-megawatt smiles, which would have assured her a lifelong contract with any toothpaste manufacturer.


"Honestly, I think life is the biggest con game ever invented. You spend years believing that you've won it but, in the end, you're just as dead as anyone else. Those damned kids that you adore, those vile beings have shattered my windowpanes so many times, that I've given up replacing them anymore. HMPH!! I feel like shaking and throttling all of them, till they turn blue. And the bloody birds!! I just hate the way they keep congregating in flocks, and mumbling to themselves in their strange language. Of course, the fact that they decide to decorate my shiny new Chevy with their droppings doesn't endear them any more. Not only that, they mock me by roosting on the scarecrow that I painstakingly created on my verandah.
"And GOD, is the master conman, running this fiendish show, and making fun of us from above."

I would've unveiled these blasphemous thoughts to her, but fortunately, the wind had been completely knocked out of my sails by that stunning smile. Otherwise for sure, that would've brought our fresh acquaintance to an unsavoury end.


Breaking into my train of thought, she interjected, "I really appreciate your listening to me. A lot of people talk to me here, but no one has listened so intently. Thank you, I'll look forward to another delightful conversation with you sometime. Now, I gotta rush."


And before I could say anything, she breezed away. Anyway, though I looked forward to meeting her again, I decided to be a bit more subtle in my approach. Hence, I purposely avoided going to the park for the next few weeks. Eventually, after subtlety had been well-thrashed, I decided I'd had enough! If she felt so good talking to me, why deny her the pleasure of my much sought-afer company?


So, I met her again. On the same old park bench with the peeling red paint. Once again, I listened to her, enthralled. I realised that she intrigued me. her ideas sounded silly, naive and even foolish to me. But her smile made them palatable, and all one could do was listen, mesmerised beyond words.

 

I loved talking to her... or rather listening to her.

 

But... I still didn't know her name...

14 comments:

Kaddu said...

Do post the next chapter soon dude!

Tangerine said...

awww!!!! i want to know what happens next! soon! please!

(look at all the !s .... please dont keep us waiting!)

Nishant said...

Awesome !!! Waiting for you to continue it to next chapter

Sumit said...

@Kaddu... aye, aye Captain!

@Tang... You won't have to wait long, I promise.

@Nishant... thanks for visiting, reading, and appreciating. :)

Anupam said...

Dude,

Write the next part soon...looks like a serious murder mystery to me!!!

N after u r finished with this ...

have a look at the work at hand :P:P:P

PS: seriously intriguing stuff machi !!!

Kadambari said...

Mmm! Interesting! Drowned in the ocean of her blue eyes eh.. What happens next?! (Plz let it end on a happy note! :P)

Aquarius said...

so when is your book coming out?? really good !!!!!

Sumit said...

@Anupam... thanks! I'm on the job, already... and well, you'll find out if it is a muder mystery. :D

@Kaddu... I'll try ending it on a happy note. What happens next is something that you may find out today/tomorrow. :)

@Aquarius... thanks! I don't know if I have a book in me. I hope I do. :)

Nikita said...

cliff hanger!! i will comment only when u complete it *sulks*

Sumit said...

Nikita, lol! I'll complete it ASAP, then. I don't want you to sulk too long. :)

Mukund said...

Well, even though you have posted the second chapter I haven't read it, i am going to do it right now...
Amazing post, straight from the heart I suppose... :)

Sumit said...

Mukund, thanks for reading! :) This story is fiction, actually. But fiction does have a few shades of reality, sometimes.

random_thought_generator said...

Spartan!!!
Seems we have an army already.
good job machi. I guess we may have a war on hand soon.

Dreaming Eyes said...

its so nice nd well written...nd m gonna comment on each chapter...keep writing....take care...