Indira Bhargava, Workshop 5
She is lovely, she is petite and has the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen. I feel the most inexplicable attraction towards her. And those eyes light up when I greet her at the golguppa stall outside the college gates. introduce myself.
She says, “I am Meenakshi, studying in geography honours, first year.”
That was good. I am doing history honours, and we would be having common classes for our supplementary subjects like Hindi, English and Economics. So we get talking, and find many common topics. And then we become inseparable in college, except when we have our honours classes.
We meet outside college too, we go for movies and plays together, initially in a group of college friends, later just the two of us.
For both, a daily consumption of golguppas is a must. She loves reading books, especially Mills and Boon romances, Georgette Heyer historical romances, Daphne Du Maurier’s ‘Rebecca’ is a favourite and so is ‘Pride and Prejudice’. I love listening to her talk about them, actually I just love the sound of her voice. She says she loves me. I believe her.
Three years fly by. Final exams are over. I have planned on joining a Law degree course in the Delhi University, and Meenakshi too has agreed to do the same. We meet in the library for the surrender of our library cards. She is looking pale and sad, so we sit down in the practically deserted library.
And then Meenakshi comes out with the devastating news. Her engagement and marriage to an Indian engineer settled in Canada has been fixed by her parents. The event will take place a week hence.
Meenakshi is weeping, I am devastated. What can we do? Nothing. Meenakshi goes away to Canada and I never meet her again.
“Hey Maatey? What have you been thinking for such a long time, we are waiting for the paani puris!” my daughter Meenakshi calls out.
I walk from the kitchen to the dining room with the golguppas in my hand.
I smile and say, “Have been thinking of my days in Miranda House Women’s College in Delhi. Those were the rocking sixties!”