Thursday, February 19, 2009
Every evening at 6.10 sharp, she wore her blue and white Reeboks.
And every evening, as she made her way down, the lift stopped on the third floor, for Manjeet aunty and her husband. He would nod his head and aunty would poocho the same question without fail, “ College kaisa chal raha hai beta?”
Suni would nod and say, “accha chal raha hai aunty.”
And as they stepped off the lift, she would rush out, leaving aunty and uncle peeche in one minute flat.
First, she would pass the kids waiting near the kaccha bady court. She’d wave at the one’s that waved their racquets and mouthed, “hi Sunidi.” Then she would pass the two ladies from Block C, as they smiled and nodded at her. Then would come the serious walker girl who had come from the US for her summer holidays. Thin bitchy type, with figure hugging tracksuit. Sometimes, there would be the young mothers ambling along with prams and ayahs. Sunni knew how to dodge them without missing a step.
She also knew that at 6: 15, he would be heading straight towards her. Taking long efficient strides as he came directly in her path.
He with his Ipod, she with her Nano.
They’d cross each other three times from 6.30 to 7.30. And every time they did, Suni’s heart would accelerate and she’d hope. Hi. Hello. Nod. What’s his problem ya? Can’t he see me? Itna bhi kya hai, I also have my Ipod, but I’m not blind. Chal I’ll only stop and say Hi, I’m Suni. Stupid. I think he’s gay. Or maybe he likes that America returned. Uski chakal dekhi…chu-se hue aam jaisi. Bitch.
It would all run through her head, as he picked up his pace for his last lap. Suni looked at those strong legs, blue shorts and soaked white Adidas T-shirt as it ran past her. And wanted to chase after him, and hit him on the head. But instead she turned and headed home out of breath.
She stood in front of the fridge, sweating and eating a 5 star and thinking, “ Shayad I should also straighten my hair. And tie a high pony. Like that America girl.”
After dinner, she lay sprawled on her bed, munching on the small Kwality Street chocolates that masi had got from London, and chatting on Orkut. “ Bloody creep. He’s too hot.”
Next day, over breakfast, her mother looked at her and said, “ Beta, VLCC kyun nahi join kar leti?”
And his mother said, “ Manjeet aunty keh rahi thi, woh sixth floor wali ladki…roz do do ghante walk karti hai, aur ek bhi kg ghata nahi uska. Poor thing, thyroid case hogi.”