The graduatesDalli Maya sat on the handrails of a steel parapet at the entrance of the café. The café was on a cul-de-sac, with alleys wrung in all directions. She wore a red ribbon around her braids, and locks of her hair shone colourfully in the languid September sun.
Published at : November 25, 2018
Updated at : November 25, 2018 08:17
Dalli Maya sat on the handrails of a steel parapet at the entrance of the café. The café was on a cul-de-sac, with alleys wrung in all directions. She wore a red ribbon around her braids, and locks of her hair shone colourfully in the languid September sun.
Assuming a meek countenance, Goloman produced smoke ringlets which slowly drifted, grew, and then settled on a stray cat. As the ringlets nestled around the fascinated creature’s neck, it gently purred in wonder.
Passing the blunt to Goloman, Dalli coughed, laughed and unveiled her plans happily and readily. It had been a week since they had graduated from university and they felt like the king and the queen of the world. They were finally done with the dreariness of university. Now, as they stood in the threshold of the unknown, with one foot still into the past, they found each other’s company more exciting.
They were living the summer of their lives. They were young, carefree, loving and not yet cynical about life. They spoke to each other with their eyes, smiling, embracing. They admitted to each other things they had never spoken of, shared their hidden desires and outlaid plans for the future.
Right now they could be anything. An evil environmentalist lawyer. A real estate mogul in love with a hooker. A gigolo. A pimp. A millionaire coder who promoted peace among worlds. An assassin politician who pursued rapists. A filmmaker with hot troupes. In the sublime moment of happiness, they were engulfed in incoherent and rash conversations leading to raillery, jokes and denunciations of all sorts, clanking their steel voices in clashes of inane excitement, furor and nonchalance; and when an unrestraint feverishness led them astray their joviality ended up in such a passionate sequence of kisses, which like a storm that gradually engendered a violent spiral of libidinal desires and carnal appetites for which they were readily thrown out of the café.
Dalli Maya’s happiness knew no limits when her father, having been elected the new mayor of the municipality, obtained for his daughter the position of social mobiliser in the office. She spent her days fooling around the municipal building chatting with all sorts of people with all sorts of bearings. In the meantime, she was also enamored with Goloman having lost her hymen to his whimsical and youthful tenderness. Both were occupied in an ecstasy of lust, friendship and uncommitted courtship. Dalli Maya upon her wont of regularly reflecting on life found the affair most soothing to her nerves.
It was just as she had imagined life. A job that appealed for her lack of ambition and a man who didn’t want anything to do with her after sex. A life so sluggish that it could only be possible in Kathmandu. She felt reborn, as the dull enthusiasm of university life was left behind. There will now be no homework or examinations. She didn’t have to bunk classes or perceive the piercing scrutiny of teachers. She would no more be upset with her classmates calling her ‘bhaalu’. She could now breathe properly in the new dreariness of adult life.
It was stirring and undemanding. She would make a couple of runs to the ward meetings, pretending to note down concerns. She reported these concerns to the supervisor, a third class gazetted officer. He would nod comatosely till she ceased to address him and then sighing like a smacked child he would reply in an undertone, ‘okay, dhanyabad’, leaving Dalli Maya to join her party of gossipers and idlers in municipal canteen, where she would laze and fritter away office hours.
Goloman wrapped up his assignment and texted Dalli Maya to meet her at Tings, where he had booked a room for evening. He was interning at a nongovernmental, human rights organisation. He was to write a brief in English on the case of Ganga Maya Adhikari, a woman who had been on a hunger strike for her teenage son, who was killed during the Maoist insurgency. He felt disgust for humanity when he read the case, for the poor woman had to endure the death of her husband as well during the course of her hunger strike. He thought that the case was a sham. A political game of hide and seek. A never-ending search for justice that would never meet its end. A political bargain. A ruin of an innocent family. A public platform for civil society organisations to bring in dollars. And most appallingly, a symbol of transitional justice.
By the time he reached the scene of romantic delight, he inured the perjury, injustice and dark politics of the case. Crafting his way through an almost asphyxiation of a microbus ride, dusty streets, cappuccino coloured potholes, ugly concrete houses made from ringgit labour and sparse Gulhomar trees, he completely forgot the day spent in smothering empathy and helpless agony.
He laid on the monochrome bedsheet and lit a fag. Uniformly drawing deep breaths, he scrolled through his Instagram feed, liking photos of his friends, cousins and strangers.
Hiking. Hashtags. Beards. Beer. Selfies. Self-Proclaimed Celebrities. Ubiquitous love emojis.
The room reeked of rainwater, unemptied ashtray and semi-gloss enamel. The attached bathroom reeked of the smell of urine and lavender-scented Odonil.
After a subtle and coded knock,
the door hinges produced a protracted squeaky sound. Dalli Maya appeared all smiles. It was the last day of the month and she had received her first salary. Twenty-four thousand seven hundred and fifty rupees.
Her happiness knew no bounds and the first thing she did was buy an expensive, ultra-thin, dotted condom pack for Goloman. She giggled at the mischief which seemed to turn him on. They made instant love, skipping tender caresses followed by kisses and foreplay which usually lasted at least half an hour. This sudden violence lasted almost a full minute.
“I have to be home by seven,” Goloman mentioned nonchalantly. Then almost irate at the thought of guests at home, he added brusquely, “There’s a Shradha supper.”
“It’s almost winter and its dark so early. My mother phones me based on the darkness in the sky” said Dalli Maya, looking through the aluminum mosquito nets of the windows.
Goloman looked pensively at Dalli Maya. Her bony spine disappeared somewhere along a soft bulge of her derriere. Four dark brown moles besotted her cervices. There were some more on her arms. A couple of dark ringlets extended to her nape. It appeared brittle and looked as if it could break off easily from her body with only a few sensual kisses. He felt nausea building in his chest. Her body was his edifice and he worshipped it. For an atheist, a naked human body offers some degree of faith in the omnipotent.
“Why can’t our ancestors leave us alone?” Goloman murmured gaping at her body. She turned around gently. Her dark nipples seemed to greet him somberly. He had a broad smile building on her unsurprised countenance. Her teeth evinced cigarette stains on the fore. She shrugged spiritedly and with a lopsided grin, questioning his obsession with culture and dogmas. An inkling of such cultural transgression and he just cannot leave it alone, she thought. It had been dragging for a while now, unabated and now unrestrained and now it seemed to her that it would never stop.
“Why can’t you just show up, smile, make small talk and be calm about it?” Dalli Maya asked, suppressing her exasperation.
“How can I? My relatives are such great people. They talk nonsense. They are full of concessions and wits which is just a droll and nothing more. I would say mildly amusing but I won’t give much credit either. That’s all they seem to care about, commentators and judges of our society. They talk like they can develop our country in a day,” Goloman replied.
He could hear them chortling with their jeers and repartees.
“Boo, boo, baaa,” she made funny faces trying to distract him from unwise thoughts.
Dalli Maya didn’t know when she had fallen for Goloman. It wasn’t either love at first sight nor did they gradually allure each other. They never fell in love. They grew into one. Perhaps out of necessity, like siblings or couples who espouse through arrange marriage. Dalli Maya didn’t see a future with him, but she perceived that he was certainly monogamous.
Goloman lay prostrate with his hirsute limbs. She wanted to make love one more time before she left for home. The strawberry flavoured rubber united with the sweetness of sex sweat unified their thoughts, anguish and moans as the dark blue hues of the evening drowned in the sound of the night.