“Writers need to be completely honest with themselves”, he said as he passed me a cup of Darjeeling tea to sip on. “Well, so do musicians”, I retorted. ”That is not the answer to my question. Don’t play around with words. Tell me, do you think you are honest with yourself?”

The summer afternoon was casting its hollow ray about the room, as if reluctant to bid adieu to the moment; and here was I sitting in a stranger’s room, sipping on a bland concoction of herbs and water and chatting up on trivial issues as if it all was a part of my daily ritual. Perhaps I shouldn’t use the word “stranger“, it is so dubious a term after all. The person sharing your bed every night can be a stranger, so too the person in the mirror looking back at you. In the end, if you need to trust someone with your life, does it really matter how long you have known them?

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As I looked about the room, taking in the mess and the clutter with all the entangled wires of the keyboards and mixing boards and audio lines and desktop, inadvertently trying to dodge his foolish questions, I realized there was a connection somewhere that I have apparently missed.

It all started exactly a week ago. His first bait to draw me in was his eccentric text messages sent to my private number. I was sure it was a leak and was burning with curiosity to know his source. The second one was a bit more subtle, nevertheless as effective a snare for someone who is in love with the gift of gab. It was all, however, mildly entertaining and I was amused to find my ego tickled in such a pleasant way, so I decided to loosen the rein of sobriety slightly and bask in the glory of self-deprecation a while longer.

He was one of those intellectual snobs whom I so love to hate. Every time he came up with something wise and utterly irrelevant, I would pinch up my nose in disgust in the secrecy of my mind. The terrain of Calcutta (or more appropriately Kolkata; though I still prefer the anglicized version) is overflowing with these snobs and that was one reason why I was so hard pressed to find the connection – I was surrounded by them.

As the afternoon melted away to dusk, our conversation took a mellower tone, reflecting the warm huskiness of the twilight that surrounded us. Throughout that night we engaged in several debates and discussions, sometimes letting our fancy take off the intellectual plane and land into the ordinary, sometimes passionately mocking each other’s theory and beliefs, sometimes defending the cities we love and decrying other metros and sometimes listening to him strumming his guitar to Sister Fatima, when I suddenly realized I was turning into the snob I detested so much.

My days with him were as fleeting as a summer love, incandescent and bright but gone in the twinkling of an eye. Like two kindred spirits in the fated journey, we shared a bond that went deeper than the usual definition of friendship, kinship, or even the adulation of Love. Do I dare give it a name? To do so would be equivalent to robbing it of its grandeur and placing it in the mundane affairs of Life. I did find the connection in the end, and for his friend’s benefit let me say that the entire episode was quite enlightening for me.

In the land of clichés and Bollywood romances, is it possible to spend a night with a guy and yet not feel anything but comradeship? Is it possible for a man and a woman to be more than just friends and yet not share physical attraction? And lastly, is it possible to dedicate this post ( DPChallenge: My Funny Valentine) to a bond so strong and yet not be misconstrued as a love story? I leave that for my readers to answer.