13th July, 2003.
It was very hot, I left home after lunch, and went to see a friend at Doctors Hospital (where we both worked), well, not just see her but ask her weather or not I shall go and pick up someone I was talking on the phone for about two months now. I never met him, he seemed ok, a brother of a colleague actually. My friend was furious at the thought, she said she will kill me if I went. I assured her that I will never do anything of that sorts and left. I remember the day crystal clear, I was wearing a pistachio green and rust, modestly stitched , georgette shalwar kameez, with a long dupatta, brown flat shoes, a simple teal green shoulder bag, no makeup or jewelry, my hair were shoulder length, badly cut, very curly, it was before my obsession for coloring them started, so they were the darkest of brown, my nails were short, bare, I was tan, twenty seven, weighed 53 kg, and had the typical raw arrogance and bravado of youth, naive, ambitious, fiery, feisty, over confident and short tempered. I drove a second hand beaten up white Margalla with temperamental air-conditioning.
On my way back, I was confused..my heart said go and see him, my head had a different view..….And then I made the decision and instead of taking a left turn from Johar Town bridge to go home, I crossed the bridge and turned right and drove on canal road through Punjab University…….next thing I remember is… taking a right turn on Ferozpur Road towards Kalma Chowk and pressing the brakes in front of Daewoo bus station, waiting for some stranger…who was supposed to arrive at 3:45. It was ten past four, and someone knocked on the window…..As soon as I unlocked the door he opened it and hoped in……with a huge grin on his face…no niceties, he threw his bag at the back seat and said “Man, I am hungry, can you please take me to Liberty market first, I want to eat cheese fries from “One Potato, Two Potato” (no ketchup) and I want to see pretty girls, after that you can drop me at my parents place”
Wow, what an entry, I wanted to slap him and throw him out of my car and cry, but I complied, took him to Liberty Market, bought him food, showed him pretty girls and then dropped him at his parents’ home. No Thank you, No good bye, he gave me a high five and said, tomorrow I have to go see a friend, if I won’t have my car, can you drop me at his place in Cantt? And before I could say fuck off, he was gone …………………………………………………………………………
And then started a decade of, on again, off again, friendship/ companionship/ affair/ relationship based on care, understanding, need, curiosity and Trust. He was twenty five, six feet three inches, had piercing pewter eyes, and was a left handed. Extremely laid back, exceptionally lazy, typically Aquarius, and gorgeously handsome. We became the best of the buddies. At that time of my life, I had no one at my side, it was a tough time, he made it bearable, he stood beside me when I was alone, he helped me finding myself when I was lost, he made me who I am today…..He called me “Mano”………and I loved him.
We never lived in the same city, his family lived in Lahore, but he was posted at different far off areas, he was and still is very dedicated to his profession, and I respect him for that. I learnt a lot of things from him, he taught me how to stand up against the world, how to depend on no one but yourself, how to fire a weapon (my aim is pretty good), roll a joint, light a cigarette, and swear. He believed in me when no one did, he cared for me when I was a nobody, he drove eight hundred kilometers to meet me in Bhurban when I said it is snowing and I want to see the snow fall with him, he memorized and sang “Sajni paas bulao naa” in his horrible voice for me………..he traveled half way across the globe to cheer me up when I had suicidal depression, he bought me a new dress and jewelry to wear on my sister’s wedding when my dress got ruined. He lend me money, I gave him my heart.
He got married to someone else…………I cried, bought a new car, messed up, and left the country.
He said there is no future for us, I refused to believe him, I said come with me I will take you far away from every one, he laughed.
Life went on, and ten years passed in the blink of an eye……………..
13th July, 2013
After a decade, I am standing right there, at the same very spot, everything has changed, but the chaos of traffic and the blue and white color of Daewoo Buses. Kalma Chowk has gone, there is a maze of monstrous overhead bridges and under passes, Ferozpur road is divided in two halves by a Jangla, there is Metro Bus. I drive a firsthand Black Honda city, with a perfect AC, I am wearing a Chineyre Jora with some seriously expensive bling, the ash gold highlights in my elbow length perfectly coiffed caramel locks enhance my wheatish complexion and camouflage the greying roots, my nails are long, painted, I have expertly applied makeup, at 56 kg i have maintained myself well, and morphed into a very refined version of my former self (with a temper, I confess) am carrying a designer bag and wearing stylish kitten heels, My eyes have slight crow feet…..and deep dark circles….hidden behind huge sunglasses.
I insert the CD, and Sajni from Jal starts playing………
Tears roll down my cheeks…………………I miss you, I miss “US”……..No one has called me “Mano” for a very long time….and i don’t have the energy to Love anyone, any more..
I press my right foot on the accelerator and move forward, leaving all the memories behind, that is the only way………..my heart aches, but I am wise enough to follow my head.
The journey continues…………….
4th April, 2014