Time was 7.30 pm. Sun had just set in but after a satisfying essential nap (owing to post-surgery Retina recuperation), Aakash realised that he was having,no doubt, only one functional eye, yet his mind ,for a change, was empty, unoccupied and bereft of any consuming frenzy.Given a boost,it could roam and float without any inhibition.The short movie set in Paris being screened over the Romedy Now became the catalyst or the facilitator.
Aakash could relate and identify with practically most of the scenes shot around still unpolluted Seine River in Paris. After all, God and Government had bestowed him with five opportunities to visit this heaven of history, culture, love, beauty, glamour and pristine heritage. Shots of Le Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Nortre Dame, Montmartre, Bastille, Sacre Coeur etc. took him comfortably down the memory lane. The whole engrossment was so absorbing that Dawn Tensy had to warm up a cup of delicious hot chocolate twice for him, before she decided to enjoy cool Summer Breeze at their Terrace 2 in clean and green area of the Lutyens Delhi.
Her hubby was 'incorrigible',yet was tolerable, compared to his ambitious relatives and colleagues.She was also left without a choice.One does not aspire to and possibly can not change spouse after 56 Springs and 27 years of marital bliss.
Two Young Souls of P.G.stage get to see each other in a University Class room (Where else ?).Begins the cute,quiet,stroll along an isolated street.Upon introductions and exchange of pleasantries,they decide to enter a Cafe.Even if it was late afternoon,time was not an issue with any of them.From the initial vibes,there was going to be ample scope to narrate,understand and amplify respective feelings.
As the setting was slightly stuffy inside,both decide to take off their over-coats.For a change,the lady offers help to the Man,but he,on feeling embarassed, lends his hand.Has a few seconds feel of some sensation through her body.They smile at each other as if nothing had happened.Both of them ask each other for orders,before the lady decides to have the common snack item.Only difference being his Capachune ,as opposed to her large Chilled Bear.
Prior to the bite,she takes the lead,begins talking about her fresh attempts to build her career,presumably after a few sour developments of life.She succeeds in developing an instant rapport.So she begins sharing and revealing without even realising that they may or may not meet again.An usual tinge of sparkle would emerge from her radiant tall frame, covered with a sleeve-less evening Green coloured gown..
He,on the contrary,was relatively short and shy, looked attractive, donning a white light printed shirt with a dog collar, over a black trouser. He would listen more for the reasons best known to him.When the conversation begins assuming the shape of a sort of Monologue,he is tempted to intervene,rather politely, like a typical French.He began in a low, yet, audible voice.Both,it appeared were looking for some clue,if not perspective or 'solution' from the "encounter" of the cool evening.When he too is inclined to share and she could spare time,she lights a fag.He offers her light as a matter of courtesy.She smiles,giggles and in a way, obliges by moving a bit closer to him.Whether hands were touched or held ,it could be guessed by the readers.
When Sun began setting a bit,they decide to leave the Cafe and slowly head towards the lanes leading to many beautiful bridges over Seine.In full gear again,the man suggests a land route to their somewhat common destination in South of Paris.She looks straight into his face,maintains silence for a moment and gives a counter-suggestion to take one of the large ferry boats/steamers,about to start.
Once inside partially occupied boat, she begins roaming on her own,without realising a bit that she had a partner or fellow talker for now close to two hours.Over the clean river front, she could remember and recollect what she had just divulged.He,on other hand, was struggling to locate his left behind bag in the University Library through his buddy by taking recourse to the Cell, saviour and the essential intruding evil of the present era.
Upon a practical no exchange of ideas for a half an hour stint,the scene moves to the now getting dark streets.They exchange some notes by opening a bit more about each others experiences.Distances reduce between them.Walking hand in hand in a partially -lit garden is the next corrollary,if not the natural one.Same is facilitated by light winter drizzle.They,together climb stairs at one time,thoroughly influenced by the mutual trust and understanding.
Soon it is his turn to take further lead.He picks up, of all things,the memory factor.To him, it was vital, it never goes, occasionally may take a deep 'breath", to re-emerge.Same lived, thronged and survived as long as soul gave company.He added that one can not be alive on his own strength,one's desire and enthusiasm were very much the contributing factors,apart from all powerful "Kismet" or the destiny. One had to be optimistic and jovial as well, while sailing through the turbulent waters of the life cycle. Human beings had to see and enjoy also the magic of life. Thus, he gave an impression about his 'Philosophy' stream.
The lady,on the contrary, could only partially show signs of agreement with his viewpoint, in view of her own experiences, if not setbacks and hastened to add-"No I am not depressed, I can not be, in view of her inner strength and strong family traditions.True to her style, she obliquely resorts to cover-up, smiles, giggles and bursts into laughter again, breaking the silence of early night.Her another statement is noteworthy-"When I am disturbed by my own doings and have weird feelings, I call my Mom.She would respond-My Child,are you O.K.?"
From nowhere, a large bench emerges in the dark and isolated surroundings.Instantly,he touches,catches and tries to 'pull her in'.For a few moments, puts her in his lap.She is still frank, candid and talkative but on feeling shy, she puts on a glowing face and withdraws.She sits next to him but by now overall distance between the two had got shortened.Gradually they inch towards each other. Unknowingly, he tries to catch her fragrance and 'dares' to feel her. Her sleeves, by now, had all the temptations.
By shooting an invisible arrow in the 'thin air', he requests her to sing a song in her native Argentine language. She replies-"Not now,maybe, after 6 months". She repeats-"May Be". It was not a loaded statement, but had some semblance to something distressful in her past.
Yet another small river surfaces. This time it is a quiet boat ride of 10 minutes. At the end, he gathers courage to ask-"So you loved that War Photographer?".Without nodding or affirming she answers-"Each person is special, unique, even abnormal or having different traits from each other/one another. Should not he be ?".
To shift the focus, he switches over to like and dislike factors. Since it was getting over her head, she simply retorts-"No, yes".
He-"Do we like or hate each other ?"
When they come across the next river bank, she suddenly begins talking about love, sex, babies, profound need to look after them,ensure their upbringing etc. By now, she gets transformed into a compulsive speaker and gives,in a way, indication about more than one failed affair/marriage.
He,in turn does not reveal his bouts of romance or alignments.Rather,he only becomes a patient listener.To him,love and commitment are the two different entities and that one should always dream. Whenever he feels like, he intervenes,manages to take a stand and she meekly surrenders even while referring, out of context to 35 years of her Parents conjugal life or their fights and patch-ups. Without thinking extra, she is convinced that his life was well settled, now that he was an established author.She thanked him profusely for listening to her and made her feel better.
When her abode appears close by, she becomes sentimental. They feel each other,do not forget to hug and kiss each other.Same is spontaneous. She offers him drink and accomodation till it is bright.She desires sex too with her newly found 'idiot', without saying it openly.He too replies without uttering-"I do not mind.If you can, open up, do not oppress any longer".
"Che"(meaning Hey in her language),her kitten welcomes both of them under her brightly- lit small compound.An elderly lady,presumably her Mother, too comes,meets and rushes inside.
Once he freshens up and given a nicely prepared hot drink next to the huge family sofa (she settles for a plain glass of milk),he shows no signs of withdrawal.He gathers courage to request her to sing a favourite song of hers to give the evening a grand 'finale'.
No lady obliges so fast.She was no exception.She goes to her bath,puts on some make-up,changes into an attractive black frock,gets hold of her tiny Spanish Guitar and begins singing a Waltz sentimental song-
"Everytime I dream of life but you are gone soon.
You are much more than you appear to me.
I want another try.One more single night with you.
JESSI.would not forget you,Not even tomorrow"
The song was in a slow and measured tone but left him spell-bound.He smiles,claps and claps again.
He desires-"One More".
Symbolically,as a parting gesture, she proudly shows the portrait of her Grand Mother and she, as a chubby six year old, with a curly hair.
Climax or Anti-climax ?
The movie on Romedy Now abruptly ends.When Aakash walks mistakenly towards the Terrace 1 to remind Dawn Tensy for the Dinner,she yells at him from the Terrace 2,where by now Vimla,Kanha and Kaalu had joined her.
Aakash tenders sincere apologies for having failed in giving her company for nearly 1.5 hours.But she is, as usual, very kind and considerate.Before Aakash has his first bite of Chapati,she dutifully puts on two evening drops into his operated eye.
In between Dinner,a peep over T.V.screen reveals that darkness was all pervading over the night sky of the vast city of Paris and supposedly Jessi, had by now, walked back home.At least, the musical score conveyed that kind of impression.Name of the Argentinian heroine was not revealed till end. It will always remain a dark,if not a strategic secret.