I was in love with Dakshina a good part of my life. She never knew that. For her, I was just an acquaintance or probably a person met and forgotten. One fine morning I went to her apartment when she was packing her bags to Canada. Her father was sitting in the Verandah in an arm chair sipping hot coffee. While I stood before him timidly, he looked up through the copiously flowing steam from his coffee cup curiously and asked, "Yes"?
I was stammering when I said, “Dakshina..."
He looked at me amusingly and turned his head slightly towards the interior and called out in Tamil," Ammu kutty unne paakruthukku yaro vandirikku..."(Ammu Kutty, someone has come to see you)
She yelled back," okkaaru solappa.. Naa itha vanden"(Appa please ask him to sit... I'm coming"
I never knew that her pet name was Ammu Kutty until then and suddenly admired her for that too. Her father signalled me to sit in a chair lying adjacent to his. I wondered why the name Ammu Kutty, a typical Malayali name, is being used by Tamil Brahmins like them.
Her father raised his cup and asked me," Coffee..."
My roughish mind wanted to tell him "toffee”. But I withheld myself and said," No thanks Sir"
He was not satisfied with my answer and asked,"Tea?"
"No sir...I just had tea"
“Then how about some Lassi or Sambharam*"
Oh God this man is unceasing; I thought and moved my eyes towards the door that opened to the living room. She would come out any minute emblazoning the dull atmosphere filled with Coffee smell with her radiating beauty. What would I tell Dakshina...? Bon Voyage? Happy journey? Or something emotional like- baby I was in love with you all my life... Will you marry me when you return from Canada?
Her father asked me again restlessly this time in Malayalam," hello sambharam edukkaam alle?" (Okay shall I bring Sambharam for you"?)
“No sir... I don't want anything now"
*Dakshinaaa", the man yelled continuing with his restless countenance.
He used her official name this time and there was no reply from inside. He got up impatiently and went inside. My heart was thumping hard. Any time the girl I adored would appear in front of me. She will be surprised. She will realize how much I love her. Wings sprouted in my thoughts and when it began to fly her father came out.
He said apologetically, “She said she is bit busy now and may be can meet you later"
The thump in my heart stopped suddenly. A puff of air was pulling inwards within my chest. Moisture in the throat evaporated quickly. Things around me began to darken in broad day light. I took a firm hold on the rails of the Verandah and moved in a waddling gait towards the gate. The coffee man might have been still standing with the coffee mug looking sympathetically at my weary countenance walking away.
Couple of hours later I stood outside the airport watching the Mumbai flight soaring upwards towards the sky. I waved at Dakshina one last time and fell on the seat of my car dejected. As I turned the keys of my car, I heard a giggle behind me. I looked through the rear mirror in astonishment and saw her sitting at the back seat with a broad smile. Yes, Dakshina was sitting like a victor, chuckling at me. A perplexed me was wondering whether to laugh or to cry.
*Sambharam- Buttermilk mixed with ginger, chilly and curry leaves.
Pic courtesy: tanya-s.deviant.com