Of all the times that we've been together, I most profoundly remember this one time when we decided to have an ice cream in a parlour that we had dedicatedly searched for on Google maps even though our bums had become omlettes because of hours and hours of riding that rented scooty. I remember I coined the term Bomlette = Bum + Omlette for the condition that we had.
We found the parlour, sat in and placed the order. Very untrue to your character, instead of getting rapt in your phone, phubbing for those few minutes, you gave me your phone to read a story you wrote.
I remember your tired face horizontally placed on your hands over the table, ear to ear rather than chin to head, looking at my expressions intently from the moment I took the phone.
It wasn't love.
The next moment was the one that I knew I'd carry with me for the rest of my life irrespective of your presence in it.
I saw you smiling with your horizontal face tilted at a weird angle showing your slightly crooked teeth accompanied by a background music - a little squeaky yet cheerful sound - when you saw my rare giggles after reading your work. Your eyes were gleeful like a child at the appreciation that you found in my laughter.
I called your story funny.
You, now like your true self, sticking by the oath the narcissist community would take, called yourself a hero.
After 15 minutes, the waiter tells us that they couldn't serve the ice cream we wanted - the one with hot cake over ice cream, topped with roasted cashews - Death by chocolate.
But that wasn't regretted. Not by me. For I knew now, that to co-exist we need to have a life exactly like Death by chocolate - a mix of hot ambitions, cool love and roasted humour.
The sentence in the picture is inspired by Jeet Thayil's Narcopolis that made me juggle with my memories and helped me write this.
When I was a teenager, my mother often talked about how very innocent and trusting I was and how the world didn't function like that. How she'll not be there always to protect me. She believes I haven't changed.
Ten years since, of which 7 years I've lived alone, I've called her to tell about men and heartbreaks, emotional, physical and professional setbacks, ambitions, dreams, desires, etc.
Today, I told her about how yesterday, my consent was breached and my sexuality was violated, how my revolt lacked aggression in the whole incident. She was right, I haven't changed.
I saw the Kali in her.
Amidst all the abuses she threw, the rage and the preachings, the care and constant calls, I remember her saying, "Jab We Met dekha hai, to kya seekha?" (What did you learn from the movie Jab we met?)
I was silent, but I remembered the scene where Geet abuses Anshuman for his cowardice.
Anshuman's cowardice is lesser a flaw/crime than breach of consent.
She reminded me to be the girl I used to be, who pulled a man down from his bike because he was eve teasing her. She reminded me to be the kind of woman she is who punched a man in his face when he tried to inappropriately touch her.
Mother, you'll always be there.
I'll be a better feminist.
I vow today that I'll protect myself and you'll not need to add knots to your palla to ensure my goodwill.
I'm wax, dear mother, and you are my wick.