Wednesday, June 27, 2007


He closed the novel, folding the upper right corner of the page to keep track of where he had been reading it. He laid his head on the table and closed his eyes. The music filled him, gradually seeping into his head. It woke something in him. An old something that he had forgotten in the busy course of life. He followed the sweet cadence of the song, up and down, round and about, straight to his heart.

With a start he realized that he was singing the song in a language that he did not understand. Meaningless words. Sounds learnt by rote. But sounds that were imprinted in his memory as if they’d been burnt there. Slowly a face came back to his memory.

The face that had made him listen to this song years ago.

“Listen to this,” she had said, “it is lovely.”

Her southern accent was still sweet in his ears. The memory of her voice still new.

He had listened to the song over and over again till he could sing it out aloud in her language. A language that he knew not a word of. Yet, so much could be said without words.

“What does it mean? Snehidane?” he had asked her.

“Lover,” she had said. It had made him strangely giddy.

He mused over the strength of memories. And the way they suddenly sprang up. The way his psyche was jolted if he met a girl wearing the same perfume as she used to wear. Would he ever be able to forget her?

No. Memories don’t go away. He had met her long ago. And he had not met her for a long time
after that. Then he had loved someone else, and then someone else. But relationships don’t replace each other. Each one is new. And the old ones remain. They just … fade.

He opened his eyes and stared at his computer screen. The song was about to end. The singer was singing in Hindi. Chupke se, chupke se.

Snehidane, snehidane. He hummed to himself one last time. As the song ended he shook his head and went back to his novel.

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