Life is an interesting academia that makes every minute of it more interesting. It is all about a journey and I am in the course of one such journey now.
I have always had the fascination towards the highway trees that are returning to their past emphasizing that I am the one, fighting back and moving towards my future. It is all about the mutual sharing between me and those trees that make both of us relive our unfulfilled dreams. But I do have a relishing memory that often takes me back to the past as the highway trees.
This is my first visit to India in the last five years and my long time friend Mohan asked me why would I be so desperate about this particular journey without even meeting my family that lives in the same city? I am on the way to Pondicherry in search of my love that was lost a few years ago. Even though it was a well planned one and not actually lost, I forced my mind to call it a lost one during this hibernation period.
The East Coast Road with the sceneries all around often reminds me the Coastal highways of Sweden. I checked my seat belt often to re-assure that I am safe when the high speed vehicles are crossing me at 120kmph. This is not because of the fear of death. But I don’t want to miss this opportunity to meet (Ex)-Mademoiselle after a long time.
After noticing my awe and irresistible behavior beside, Mohan started “Karthi.! Play some songs in the audio player. I don’t want to risk by playing some album that reminds you of your past. Then you will write a story and start making fun out of me”.
I responded with a gentle smile and started inspecting all the Ilaiyaraja albums and came up with her favorite song “Germanyin senthen malare” from Ullasa Paravaigal. I told “Mohan. This whole journey will be accompanied by all her favorite songs.”
He simply nodded and I went back to my flash memories. Ammu used to sing this song with Sweden instead of Germany before I left for Sweden. I was more habituated to this song that made me articulate Sweden instead or Germany even now.
The East Coast Road gave me a glimpse of Bay of Bengal which rolled back my memories to the day Ammu left me. “How it would be if I had fallen in the silent Baltic Sea then? Would have been converted to ice bergs settling somewhere in the shore of Baltic Sea”, I heard the sound of my heart.
Only very few times, an individual feels like being at the corner of life. I felt it the day when Ammu left me alone. I have advised all the friends not to search for their lost love. “Instead it is always better to go in search of another suitable one. And how many had changed after my counseling. But what happened to me, the love guru myself?” my heart whispered.
“Hello Karthi.! Are you here?” Mohan pulled me back to the present.
“Yes Mohan. I am trying to recollect all the memories and accumulate my anger and fury. I should at least ask her a few questions that gives her irresistible pain” I told him.
He pretended that he did not hear anything and asked me, “Is that Kamban Nagar, Second Street?”
“Yes Mohan. I have asked Alex to wait near the Indira Gandhi Statue” I responde. He kept silent and that silent meant lot of things.
Mohan has always been a good lover to all his previous relationships. He often tells me that some of the relationships are like Cricket net practices that make us fit for the real match. He also had a handful of experience before settling with the final one. But he did not make the mistake of naming his children after the names of his past relationships. Instead he is so happy with what he has got now. I guess it is irrelevant when talking about Ammu. Cut it to Ammu.
Years rolled back. I and Ammu were in the same East Coast Road travelling in the Pondicherry bus with Ammu resting on my shoulders asking me “Hey Karthi. Do you really like me.? Am I so beautiful than other girls?”
“Yes, sweet heart. You are so beautiful”, I told holding her hands tight.
“Am I beautiful than the one sitting at the third seat from front row?” she asked me pointing towards a girl with yellow salwar.
Even though the girl reminded me of the actress Late Dhivya Bharathi, I looked into her eyes and told “Definitely Ammu. You are so beautiful than her.”
“You are simply lying just not to make me feel bad before you go to Sweden. Right.?” Ammu was so desperate to know.
“It is not that she is beautiful, Ammu. She did not remind me of my Mother. She is not like my Mother. You just resemble my Mother and that is what makes you more beautiful”, I told her as she blushed all over again.
The driver applied the brake for some reason and she used that chance and kissed on my cheek and said “Thanks Karthi.”
“Karthi?”, I came alive after hearing Mohan’s voice.
“Karthi. Is that necessary to meet Keerthana now? You came here after a long time and that too for a very short trip. Why don’t you stay with your family? This meeting with Keerthana may create unnecessary pain for both of you? She might have forgotten you even?” Mohan tried to convince me.
“I just need that pain, Mohan. If she had forgotten me and stays happy, I should remind her that I was there in her life before. If she is leading a normal life, I should make her feel bad for rejecting me for her parents. I am going to give this pain and anguish not only for her, also for her parents”, I told.
“This makes you really cheaper than the ordinary men” Mohan cursed me.
“Whatever I have achieved so far is just for this one occasion. I was so sure that I should not meet her as a loser. If that was the case, I might have fallen in the Baltic Sea then. Why should I come here all the way.? I want to prove that they can’t eliminate me just like that. I will meet her whenever I come to India and give her the pain of death” I told him shrouding my tears.
Neither of us had a word aftermath. I felt I should not shed my anger on Mohan and let it fades out.
My phone cried for its attention. I picked up the call and said “Alex. We have crossed Marakaanam. We will be there in an hour”. I flashed into the memories again.
Marakaanam is a small town that lies in the East Coast Road towards Pondicherry.
The same Alex had called me over the phone on the day when I travelled with Ammu. “Is that Alex? Don’t tell him about me. None of our colleagues know that I am talking to you. Let’s declare this relationship on our wedding. Ok?” Ammu whispered so that it is not audible to Alex.
I just nodded and asked “Ok. Let’s play the name game”. We started playing with the name ‘Alex’ by replacing the first letter of his name with all the alphabets.
“Alex, Blex, Clex, Dlex, ….. , Xlex, Ylex, Zlex”, she started laughing as if I have cracked the joke of the year.
“Ammu, tell me how to reach your home?”, I asked.
“Hey idiot.! Never try to come home. My dad will sacrifice me to the temple opposite to my house”, she screamed.
“I swear not to come inside. Just a ride in your street like Madhavan did in the movie Alaipayudhe. Alex will drive me to your place”, I requested her.
She was convinced and told me “Our house is the last one in the street. We are in the first floor of the house. Mmm. There will be a temple opposite to our house. Is this information enough?” I sensed a hint of sarcasm in her tone and that is what attracts me towards her.
“Give me a missed call when you enter into our street. I will come and see you from our portico” I felt the love this time.
I woke up realizing that I have been into the memories for a long time. We reached the Indira Gandhi Statue.
We picked up Alex from the place where Ammu used to get down from the bus those days. Alex is also one of my rarest friends like Mohan. I could not have completed my Masters and Research studies without his financial help.
Alex listened to the way I guided Mohan and replied “Karthi. How do you remember the route exactly? This is my second visit to this street after the day I came with you.”
We entered the street as the temple speakers yelling out the hit songs of their goddess. The goddess I saw last time was grown financially and that was visible in the construction of the renovated temple. We stopped the car a few meters away from her house and were discussing about the next move.
I witnessed a young woman walking slowly from the temple to the opposite house. It took me a moment to realize it was Ammu. She was accompanied by her father, mother, and a man probably of my age walking with her. I had a close look at him to recognize, “Are you the one who took away my princess?” Yes. She looked beautiful as full term expectant mother, walking so proudly with her husband. I was melted to see her like that. She reminded me off my mother when my last brother was born. I just saw my mother in her.
My anguish, awe, grudge, pain and everything had dissolved completely from my mind. I saw her till she reached her house and whipped off the tears that rolled out of my eyes. Mohan ignited the car before I asked him to do so.
This time Mohan played all the Ilayaraja songs without my consent. Read the Sign board for one last time while returning back. It said “Kamban Nagar. Second Street”.
This Story was originally written by Mr. Selvakumar Ramachandran in Tamil, one of the oldest and most popular languages in India. Being impressed with the story line, I strongly felt this story should reach wider audience. Hence the story was translated after seeking prior approval from Mr. Selvakumar.
To read the original work in Tamil, please check this link
To read this story in his Multilingual Blog, Click here