I love how Pune sits on the threshold of the old and new, adorned by raindrops in its lush green tiara. I have a beautiful memory of this place. We went for a trek with a bunch of friends from college four days before our finals. I taught him the words – Saanjh/सांझ (evening) and Udgaar/उद्गार (to exclaim) at the Malshej peak when the summer roses and exotic birds were waving us goodbye.
Orion was an exchange student from Sweden with greyish blue eyes – a gift of his Persian and Roman heritage. His curiosity about the Indian subcontinent knew no bounds. He kept asking us about music gharanas, Shivaji history, and “Hey, what are karanjis? can we make them at the hostel?”
We managed to find a small shelter amidst the pelting rains and were stuck in a sylvan, idyllic setting. Most of our classmates were busy on their phones, and Orion was sick of it. He looked at me and said, “Phones are such a trap, no? These numbing gadgets have snatched a human’s ability to do better things.”
We spoke an orb about the other traps of life and how unhappiness can catch you by surprise. “Well, don’t you think artists beguile too – with their words or brushes or you know…?” he asked. I blushed with a raindrop in my dimples.
“So what’s yours? What is the most intriguing, fascinating line you’ve ever said to someone?” Glad he asked.
I looked at him, stood on the tip of my toenails, and whispered with a pursed peck, “Boy, you’re the exclamation mark at the end of the happiest sentence I could ever possibly write!”
It works every time! 😉