In search for loveThe sun was shining, fresh wind was blowing, the sky was a serene blue but in Ghanashyam Bista’s heart, dark clouds hung.
The sun, a cheerful ball of yellow, hovered above the green hills, giving Naxal Park a pleasant golden hue. Dew drops, like golden grains, trembled on the grass, trees, swings and the park benches. The restless wind bore from the east, bringing with it, hope and merriment. Naxal park was teeming with pulsing life.
A sea of people streamed briskly into the park with love light in their eyes. They walked with an extra spring in their step, like an excited student in his first school trip. The world seemed to be dripping with liquid passion. The smell of romance filled the air.
Strewn hither thither on the grass were couples sprawled like lazy toads after a heavy lunch. On the park bench, holding each other like a professional lawyer holding a stack of important files, sat nervous couples with rosy cheeks and affectionate eyes. And on the cobbled pavements, holding hands as if it were a spiral wire, gentle couples, walked with jaunty confidence and quickening pulse. The entire park was bustling with excitement. A passerby gazing at the wonderful scenery would’ve remarked to himself how the scene looked like a poet’s dream.
The sun was shining, fresh wind was blowing, the sky was a serene blue but in Ghanashyam Bista’s heart, dark clouds hung. Sadness was spread on his face as stubbornly as a wet sock to a swollen foot. The thought that gnawed at Ghanashyam Bista’s huge heart was the fact that it was his first Valentine’s Day without a date. Year after year, he had brought dazzling beauties to the park for the world to feast their eyes upon. Bespectacled eyes of ugly nerds had looked at him with unconcealed envy. But this year things were different. The bespectacled nerds were having the temple of their spectacles stroked by hands as pale as pearls. Big faced creatures were having their twisted noses pinched by elegant fingers and blood flowing on their veins like warm, delicious milk. As his eyes navigated the couples in the park, a spasm of sickening sorrow swept through him. Ghanashyam Bista, a man who dismissed the sorrow of lonely singles as if it were an ignorant animal suffering, wanted a friendly shoulder to lean on and a sympathetic ear to pour his heart out. He had reasoned two summers ago that it wasn’t painful for singles to potter around alone and plop in cold lonely beds, as they couldn’t imagine anything but loneliness and singlehood. On this day of painful realisation it was beginning to dawn on him that he had been wrong.
For an average person, the romantic scenes of Naxal Park was a beautiful dream. But to Ghanashyam Bista it was a painful reminder of his declining appeal among the females, a twisting of the knife in his wounded heart. Ghanashyam Bista had been uneasily aware of his cane toad-like intelligence. What he lacked in intelligence he had made up with his good looks. But with growing age, he was aware that the importance of the former was getting markedly stronger day by day. As he reached adulthood, harsh realities of the world were beginning to eat at him.
Suddenly, the air became still. Clouds blocked the sun. Ghanashyam Bista was about to stand up from the seat and dust the dirt off his pants when the leaden stillness was broken by a sound like that of a dog sniffing a slab of meat. Overpowered by curiosity, as his head turned towards the direction of the sound, he found, to his astonishment, a delightful woman, her face cupped in her hands, her shoulders rising and falling. Ghanashyams face softened, he felt a pang of pity for her.
“I say, madam,” Ghanashyams voice was soft and soothing.
The shoulders stopped their movement. Slowly, the face lifted from the petal-like hands and it made Bista’s heart jump to his mouth.
A shudder passed through Bista’s frame.
“I say, madam,” Bista resumed, “what seems to be the problem? You look so...”
Ghanashyam looked at her eyes and said, “So sad.”
The lady quickly wiped molten pearl-like tears from her cheekbones. Then controlling herself, she said “Oh, nothing you see. It’s just that,” the lady’s voice choked. Tears welled up in her eyes and she burst into uncontrollable tears.
“Madam,” Bista said, making his voice deep and authoritative. “Come now, don’t drown in sorrow, I may be as dumb as a donkey, but I sure am a good listener.”
Upon hearing Bista call himself dumb, the lady’s face lit up, like a man who had found his fellow countrymen in a foreign land. Encouraged by his words, she began: “Well, you see, I have always been the object of desire for many men. But of late, people have told me that I’m lacking in the grey cells. That I…” she choked, “am not a mental giant.”
Bista chuckled encouragingly, “I say, that’s it?” he shrugged. “I’ve had people call me as sharp as a cane toad, slow-witted, dim bulb, bone head, saphead… the list goes on.”
The lady’s face lit up like a happy child’s. Her eyes widened and she looked at him adoringly.
“You really are that stupid?” She asked excitedly.
“Dumber than a doornail”
She smiled assuredly.
Suddenly, it seemed to Ghanashyam that there was a beautiful bond between him and nature. He felt grateful for the golden sun, green grass, loamy air, noble trees, his blood flowed on his veins like warm milk.
“I’ll be going. You must be waiting for a date,” the girl said.
Ghanashyam’s face dropped. A sharp miserable breath like that of a trench whistle shot out of his nose.
“You see, it’s my first Valentine’s Day without a date.”
The girl jumped from her seat, like a mongoose stung by a cobra.
“I say, really. A handsome man like you. Without a date?’
“You see, as I said before, I’m not so bright.”
The lady put a hand on Ghanashyam’s shoulder. Her touch seemed to have the effect like that on a touch-sensitive plant.
Ghanashyam’s face lifted up slowly and he fixed his eyes upon hers. A flicker of hope shone on his bulging eyes.
“Don’t be sad, my boyfriend works for a dating agency. He can fix a girl for you.”
With these words, the lady took out a card and thrust it towards Ghanashyam. Ghanashyam smiled weakly and took the card. The lady walked away with bold, brisk steps. Ghanashyam sank deeper into his seat like a deflated football.