Updated: Jul 22
In my childhood, we had a nice verandah. The North-facing verandah would not just greet us with ‘utture hawa’. It was a hang-out place for the sparrows in the vicinity. We had then bamboo-made railings instead of the iron ones. Maybe the birds thought that those railings were the extension of the tree branches.
Anyway, I always wanted to hold those sparrows with my hand. When they sat on the railing, I would tip-toe closer to them making as little noise as possible. But the fiery little birds were too clever to let me get hold of them.
Dur Hote Ami Tare Sadhibo
In the summer of one of the magical years of the 1990s, the Kalboishakhi storm came. Along came his partner in crime - the rain. Just like a girl, with a nice choice of perfume, drenches all the people in a room with her fragrance - the rain came and washed away all the frustrations of the summer. If you are aware of the characteristics of the sparrows, you would know that during heavy rainfall, they become quite inactive.
A lone sparrow was sitting on the bamboo-railing of our verandah. Nature was still not in the mood of bidding goodbye to the clouds. The sparrow was not in its cheerful mood. I slowly came behind the little bird. This time, I was lucky. I could catch her! The little sparrow, perhaps, got startled. Yet it did not flutter….
But you know what? I did not enjoy the experience. Something was missing. I was too young to understand the difference between holding someone and making someone stay…
From Innocence To Experience
Days passed. The long mobile towers started violating the sky mercilessly. The fiery little sparrows were no match for the invisible poison that these towers spat out. The chirping stopped one day. We were left with the caw-cawing of the crows.
I, too, started realizing that mothers are just one kind of women. There were my female classmates, there were the Bollywood heroines and then there were the boudis of the para. Perhaps I gnawed at the Apple of knowledge a little too early!
Sports were never my forte in the school. So when there were those football tournaments going on, some of us - including me - used to hit on the girls from my class. Our Maths teacher used to sarcastically say, “ Maather bhitore ekta khela chole, maather baire ekta khela chole.”
Long story short, I kept on trying to catch the sparrows - instead of making them stay. Ofcourse the definition of sparrow changed overtime.
Baadhonobihin Je Baadhon
Then. I. Found. Her. I was at my lowest of lows. I couldn’t find my calling after graduation. I was managing our family shop for the time being. But the shopkeeper tag was eating me from inside. Then she pinged me on Facebook. We used to study in the same primary school. Thanks to Quantum Physics, against all the negative odds, she somehow remembered me…
The hi and hello transformed into long conversation. The Facebook chat transformed into Whatsapp chat. The text based chat transformed into voice calls. It took nearly one and a half years for us to meet in real life. But no, nothing special happened. The leaves did not rustle, nor did the violin players come up. It was a normal meeting.
The acquaintance gradually matured to something special. She has her problems. I have my problems. We decided ( without telling each other) to get stressed together! And the problems in our lives suddenly became the thread that kept us connected.
First Base, Second Base - Doesn’t Work Like That In Real Life
It took almost 6 years for me to come close to her. Even when our friendship grew quite deep, I felt time had not yet come to merge our spaces. So I respected her space even though I had already invaded her emotional space.
At first we both peeled off the mask that we wore to hide our insecurities, our incompleteness… As she grew older, she became more attractive. And my urge to see her as Leonardo Di Caprio saw Kate Winslet in that immortal scene of Titanic increased.
But haven’t I already seen her naked? Yes, there is a lot to peel off - as they say - A woman's heart is a deep ocean of secrets. But I have SEEN her more than anybody else has seen ( with small letters).
It took 6 years for her space and my space to merge. And that’s the main thing. Everyday, we ‘touch’ so many - on the road, in the bus.. But we don’t let anybody invade our space. When we let our lovers touch us - at a deeper level, we actually let them invade our space. And, no, ‘invade’ is not the right word here - we open the doors to our space for them.
The Warmth, The Softness
So the sparrow willingly flew to me this time. The first thing that struck me was the fact that she was so soft to touch! All the pillows of the world cannot simulate the softness that a woman’s body offers. Am I implying she is fragile? Ofcourse not! But, by God! Snuggling with her was therapeutic for me. If I had the superpower of stretching the time to eternity, I could have obliviated all my stress, all my headaches just by spooning her for eternity.
That Unique Smell
Every person has her own smell. She too has her unique smell. Getting her close to me was a feast for my olfactory nerves. The smell tickled my nose, went through it to my brain and now it keeps on haunting me… I wonder why girls wear perfume. Perfumes would have masked that smell if she wore one that day.
Was It All Birds And Bees?
I have reached an age where I love the ‘hardware’ more than the ‘software’ so to speak! So no matter how hard I try to be platonic, the pituitary gland and my ‘magic wand’ keep on conspiring against me being too bhalo chhele !
Thus unlike the yesteryear Bollywood movies, the moment I touched her, there began a sexual tension between us. But there was something different this time - A feeling that porn fails to offer. It is very difficult to recreate the same feeling with words. I was attentive to her words, her smile. I talked about personal space above. I think people also have a sexual space around them. And getting invited to that space is a special thing.
The subtle hint of her bra underneath her churidar, feeling her curves with my finger, playing with her hair - that was my first foreplay - I caressed the sparrow before holding her.
While writing this part, I am constantly reminded of that dialogue in The Dirty Picture - “ Touch toh bahuton ne kiya hai ... par chuha kisi ne nahin.” I wanted to touch HER body and not the body of hers - there is a difference. I longed to feel the warmth and softness of her breasts all the while staring at her eyes.
We, as content writers, are always advised to end an article with positive ideas. This won’t be the case with this one…
As she bids goodbye to me, as the magical moment finally comes to an end - I return to my usual self - the one who tried to catch hold of the sparrows without establishing any endearing connection. My ears are no longer able to listen to the ‘Songs of Innocence.’ In fact, I no longer hear the ‘Songs of Experience.’ Like Eliot, my eyes are only able to see the fog floating upon the “pools that stand in drains.”
We are no longer in touch (no pun intended!). But the magical moment that I spent with her, now acts like an oasis in the deserts of harsh reality. It is only because of a few such enchanting experiences, I haven’t given up on myself yet.