by Avishek Gupta
'Are you comfortable?', Ronnie asked Megs, who was engrossed in a job in which she had acquired perfection in a brief notice.
'Ya, sure', she replied in the same husky voice which had already sunk quite a few ships, if not a thousand.
Ranajoy Mitra, popularly Ronnie, had just left his first job, and was having a lull in his normally busy life. It was on such a dull, inconspicuous afternoon that he received a surprise call from Megs, wanting to meet up. Ronnie reciprocated immediately and called her to his home.
Meghomala Chatterjee or Megs, Junior Copywriter in an advertising firm had met Ronnie through a common friend a few months back. They had a lot in common - the same choice of books, movies, and songs, it gave them topics to chat about.
They had met twice earlier in company of their friends. In those couple of meetings in a local cafe, they had hardly spoken a word or two to each other. Yet, somehow, they could feel a growing interest. They exchanged phone numbers. The first few calls were cautious, but slowly the ice melted. They started talking freely, never hesitating to crack a joke, and even after finishing an hour long call, their idle fingers tended to redial.
It was Megs's first visit to Ronnie's place. Ronnie, sat resting his back against an empty wall, and Megs was leaning down on a sheet of newspaper neatly laid on the floor. The two had settled at the attic of Ronnie's two-storied house. It was L-shaped, as small as a prison cell would be, without electricity; but clean, cool, and most importantly, private. This was Ronnie's most adored haunt, right from his first days of teenage - his own, pet version of Dante's hell. Megs was cutting her favorite weed with her favorite scissors. The process involved nimble scissor work and rigorous hand grinding. Then, at last, the careful task of stuffing the 'thing' in an already empty cigarette. It was an addiction to Megs, and for Ronnie, a venture into the unexplored. Yet, nothing really happened; they did not suffer for their sanity. They chatted incessantly though, words pouring out in a euphonious manner. From
Guns 'n Roses, to Bunuel, to Derrida, they discussed it all.
Then suddenly they were awestruck to find how cruelly fast the hands of clock moved. It was five, time for Megs to leave. She had a night shift in office. Megs looked at Ronnie and said, 'You know Ron, right from my childhood, I have always been more attached to things than people. Be it my ribbons, my mom's pearl necklace, or any other crazy nothing. Now, of course, I have this.' She sported a small packet of weed between her fingers. Ronnie, hesitant, waiting to say something for long, finally said, 'An addiction is bondage. One should live freely. Nothing should be indispensable.'
Megs bit her lower lip. Ronnie asked her, 'Hey Megs! Can't you break the shackles?'
'It's difficult Ron.' Megs replied, 'It's been a good companion for years.'
They were silent for a moment as they came down the stairs. On reaching the ground floor, Ronnie said, 'I guess I could be a less hazardous companion.'
They both laughed and dearly wished the other understood the true meaning of what was just said.
Megs turned to look at him. It was a magical moment when their eyes met. The heavens bestowed upon that eternal word, and in a deep, quiet forest, across the green foliage, a bird found a new note of melancholy. However, they chose to remain silent. It was, in fact a prudent decision. Silence, sometimes is the most expressive language.
Later that evening, someone slowly crept up to his attic. He was in a state of trance. The dark little room was still moistened with the smell of weed. He seemed to collect his thoughts, and murmured one of his favorite lines, 'You be the deep ocean, and I would love to drown.'
At that very moment, someone took a break from her hectic schedule. She flushed a packet in her office toilet and smiled at her own reflection at the mirror. She was happy to find a newer addiction.
The gurgling water of the toilet gulped the weed, but even long after that, the splendid smell seemed to linger on the minds of earth's newest lovers.