Thursday, October 04, 2012
Three things about Sudhir still made my heart go "Bump" till the very day he died--and memories of these still continue to do so even today!!The first was his beautiful Brown eyes---till today I've never come across such expressive eyes--they could change from a liquid Sherry Gold into a smouldering Coffee in a flash!!!That man had me wound around his little finger---and he was very aware of this!!My memories about his eyes are many but would like to share just these two here.Once after our marriage we both had gone out for a Drive on one of Bombay's Highlights--the Marine drive.It was the Christmas vacation and we had gone to fetch the famous "Plum Cake" or Christmas Cake from the Taj--for Sudhir could eat tons of that throughout the year!!And a little digression here----even after eating Christmas Pudding--typical,authentic and traditional British Christmas Pudding in London he still swore by La Patesserie at the Taj!!!Coming back to the topic at hand--as we drove back the Sun was setting over the sea and I happened to ask him a question when we stopped at a traffic light---the rays of the setting Sun caught his face and hair and I caught my breath---his beautiful face had acquired a halo from the rays of the Sun--his thick dark hair too was gilded and those eyes---they turned into pools of shimmering Gold--I just stared at him transfixed as my heart stopped and guided by an unconscious impulse--- just leaned over and kissed him on his lips--it was an involuntary,reflex action for me to do so--and the moment he snapped at me the Moment shattered--for it embarrassed him terribly to have me display "that" kind of Emotion in the midst of a busy arterial Road!!!The second was a song by Asha Bhosle that I loved---it was from an old Black and White Film based on a fast paced Country Music beat with melodious Whistling in the Musical pieces.Sudhir used to whistle very well and this was one Song that I used to sing often--yes sing---for those were the pre-daughters days----before my vocal chords were badly battered and abused by shouting and screaming at them---to reach today's croaking status!!The Song went thus "Hai Unki woh Nigaahen----Dil dekhey jin kee Raahein--Koi unsey jaakey poochhey Hum kyon naa Unhein Chaahein" from a 1961 film called "Aakhri Daao".Translated loosely it means that the lady is singing praises about the Hero's eyes and expressing her emotions to her friend who joins by in whistling in some notes!!We used to head out for after dinner drives on the weekends and the roads by the Sea,the beauty of the starlit nights would prompt me to sing this and Sudhir would whistle---and later we'd end up singing this together---those days we were young and carefree and very much in Love---Life was beautiful and spread out in shimmering Glory at our feet---full of Adventure and promising Prospects---The World was our Oyster!!
The second thing I loved about him was his smile---not the formal one that he gave Sayali mostly when she irritated him by clicking away all the time--we had this private joke between us which Sayali didn't much like but pretended not to notice--we used to say that Sayali's Cameras developed Diarrhoea the moment they reached her hands--for they just couldn't stop clicking!!There was another smile that woul;d burst out like the Sun from behind the Clouds on a rainy day--and spread light all around!!This smile was amused,infectious--so infectious that often I used to get an uncontrollable desire to see it---I have even resorted to tickling him for it---till he literally begged for mercy!!!As the years went by I also came to know which tactics to use and these stood me in good stead for I'd push the right buttons whenever the urge to see it hit me!!That smile suffused his whole being--it would begin from his eyes,travel to his lips and slowly spread over his face--a very Puckish smile---it would be very obvious how amused and tickled he was and while there are many such Pictures of him smiling only one has captured the real essence of his actual expression!!
Besides he had this very indulgent and amused smile too---one that was different from the earlier version and one that was reserved only for me,Meha and our daughters.This smile would give him away whenever he had any kind of surprise planned for us--collectively or singularly---for there'd be an aura of satisfaction around him and try hard as he might he just could not act!!He'd try to pretend that he'd forgotten to get something we'd asked for or some small thing which was not readily available but he managed to get it---but he didn't realise how well we all knew him.If he made a promise he never reneged on it---he'd ensure that he fulfilled it---for it was a matter of Honour to him!!I could read him like a Book---and today despite all my Pain at his going I still know that if it was in his hands he would have clungon desperately even to the slenderest thread of Life--just for me!!We had made a Pact--God willing we'd die together--but Man proposes and God disposes!!
The third thing was his scent---for me it was the thing that gave me the strength to stand upright through all my illnesses and his---that magical essence is what I miss the most.Since the first day of our marriage I made it a habit to cuddle him every morning after he woke up---it was just a warm feeling--a rightness to my day and till the very end I did that.That is what I miss the most.Since August 2000 for the most part it was just him and me---and after he'd finished his Bed Tea, I'd literally push him towards my side of the Bed and scoot in at his--my arms around him,my head buried in his neck--just drinking in his scent!!We'd just lie there holding each other for a period of time---- sometimes more sometimes less---depending on how soon the Doorbell rang--but this would reassure me of a brand new day where we were both still alive and more specifically together!!I lost my father at his age of 53 years--Baba died when he was 58 years old and Milind aged 60 years.Sudhir lived a much healthier and longer life than these three---but I lived under continued stress of Uncertainty---not knowing when and where Death would strike at him.I clung to many symbols of "Soubhagyaa" like my Mangal sutras---I never removed my Mangalsutra before wearing a different one first,I wore my very thick and heavy Toe rings as long as I could--it was Sudhir who removed these in Hospital just prior to my Angioplasty--and would not let me wear these again after my Doctor informed him that these could restrict the blood flow to my feet thanks to my heavy Diabetes and cause Gangrene resulting in amputation----he just picked these up,held them out to me and very simply said--"If you ever wear these again I'll walk out of the house--and never come back!!Decide what is more important--these or me!!"I chose him.The day they kept him in the Morgue I could not hold him close for the last time before they took him----I was in deep shock and completely numb---- and the only thought going on over and over in my head was about how he would survive there---for he just could never sleep alone!!!
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