When the bell rang that day
I was busy folding my mustard tainted curtains
Breathing in the melancholy of a misty afternoon in February
was easy to get used to,
hard to come out of.
The bell sounded sharp to my ears
I wasn't expecting anybody then
Least of all you,
in your billowy blue shirt
The one I had marked in my head
the very first time I saw you in it.
We exchanged pleasantries, chatted
about sweet nothings
You filled the silence with fumblings
Like pieces of a disarrayed jigsaw puzzle.
I tried my best to help,
Sometimes the clues are right in front
but you can't see them.
I told you that I had never expected you to come so soon
You smiled that smile of yours and said,
You had to return my book.
The book with the red cover
The book you had borrowed
when we chanced to meet in Manali last November.
You told me that the red looked faded while it was with you,
I laughed. Everything looks brighter in the snow.
Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.
Maybe there wasn't more to it than there was.
Maybe all stories do not find their red coloured books.
Maybe red as a colour is overrated.
So many maybes there can be.
What are you thinking?
Nothing can be infinite.
Then I am thinking about infinity.
So you won't tell me?
"So she won't tell me," you said looking at the painting above my head.
In that moment I wanted to tell you
How red is a colour of longing,it fades to deepen
How worn out books always remember the touch of the reader
How echoes don't need seventeen metres in the hills
The heart is big enough..
But that would've been dramatic
And now, time has neither of us covered.
So I smile and ask
Would you like some tea?
You say yes
I put the red book back where the dust has marked its place.
Maybe we meet in Manali again
In November someday.