Monday, October 22, 2012

Dimpled smile

I was in class 6 or 7 in a school that was not far from my home. Of the many class mates of mine in the lower secondary classes, the face of only one is strikingly fresh and the faces of the rest oozed out of my sieve like memory. Veda must be my age or a year younger. What I could never forget are the dimples on both her cheeks when she smiled and her blue eyes. A very fair girl, tall with hair stretching below her hip and a beautiful face, she must be from an affluent family as she wore silk pavadai (skirt) with thick zari.She sat on the edge of the girls’ side while I sat on the edge of boys’ side with only the aisle separating us. She was shy and receding by nature and spoke only to me among the boys.
Though at that age it was just an attachment, I felt the urge often to steal glances at her. One day as we were walking back from the school, she remonstrated with me “Whenever I turn my face, I see you always looking sideways at me. Don’t do that, Babu, as the teacher and others would see you doing it”
“How do you know I was always looking at you unless you turn your face to see me?”
She will just giggle that would give me pleasant feeling. We walked back slowly together but her house was hardly a furlong away and when we neared it she will rush into her house through the gate without looking at me. She had a beautiful handwriting and whenever my homework piled up due to my lazy ways, she would write for me but deliberately scribbling lest she is found out. In my turn I used to help clearing her doubts.
I think we studied together hardly for two years before I went to some other city. But the bond of friendship was green even after two decades and her face etched forever in my mind. Married to a software engineer and employed in Fremont, California, life was comfortable with a small baby girl to adore.
It was Navrathri time and my wife Renuka had set up a small golu.She was telling me that a new Tamilian family had come to the complex and lived two floors below and that she had met the young lady accidentally at Indian store. She also said that she had invited her to come along with her hubby the next day, being off day. It is a huge building complex with hundreds of apartments housing various nationalities that you never know who lives where.
The young couple along with a boy of five years came around 7pm.Renuka introduced them “She is the lady about whom I had mentioned. Lucky they are in the same building.
I extended my hand and said “I am Suresh working for Apple. Nice to know you.Renuka works from home presently. I am from Chennai, T.Nagar to be exact.”
I am Ravi working for Wipro while Veda is a home maker. We are here for the last 5 years and shifted here very recently”
I looked at Veda and said “A very familiar name though Vedavallis are common in Chennai.” She smiled and the two trademark dimples revealed who she really was.”Nice to meet you people” I said. I could sense a sign of recognition from her sideways glance that I was accustomed to.
After seeing the doll exhibition, we all sat in the living room with snacks and coffee.Renuka was very pleased with her, I felt, when I saw them talking animatedly. The children were playing. Ravi seemed a gregarious type and an engaging conversationalist.
Abruptly looking at me Veda asked “Did you study in RK School in classes 6 and 7?” When I nodded in affirmative, she exclaimed”Are you known as Babu? There was a boy in my class with a mole at the temple as you have.”
“Yes, Veda, I am the same Babu and I could place you immediately after I saw your dimples as you smiled>Nice to meet after two decades”
Ravi patted me on my shoulders and said with guffaw “Great you knew my wife even in your younger days. Was she a cleanliness freak even in those days?”
That night as we lay in the bed, Renuka said “I don’t think I like that Veda and I may have nothing to do with her”
“Why what happened? Are you jealous or what? She seemed nice and Ravi also appeared as a pleasant guy”
“True Ravi seems ok and an innocent guy with no guile. But that Veda, I detest her”
“I think you are completely wrong. I know her well from her younger days. Coming from rich family, she was not only pretty but good in studies, very methodical and talented in music. I think they should be in our close circle of friends”
“You be dreaming of her dimples and pretty looks. She will not enter my house. I am sleepy now “she said as she turned her head to the other side.
A month later when I met Veda at Walmart, she said”Babu, did I say anything wrong that day? You wife is cold towards me since then and turns her face even when I greet her. I thought initially she might not have seen me but this has happened several times”
“Sorry Veda. You spoke or did nothing wrong that day. Some women have complex. Actually I was happy to have met you that day and looked forward to you people visiting regularly. Some people are funny and develop a prejudice for no reason.. I liked Ravi and he was friendly”
“I am not so sure because he keeps asking “What about your old friend with the mole who remembers your dimple. Sad people cannot accept two of opposite gender being just good friends. He has mentioned since then that this complex is far from his office and I do not think that  is the real  reason.”
“Let us hope someday they would realize their folly. I apologise on my wife’s behalf” I said and walked away feeling sad.





13 comments:

  1. Really Good One. Frowning upon friendship among opp genders speaks of being narrow minded & insecure.

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  2. Yeah have heard some friends talk of such incidents in real. I don't know what complex they actually have.

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  3. You probably evened out so no one will accuse you of prejudice. The envy or jealousy is even in the story in both man and woman.
    Yes it happens and honestly the quality transcends sexes.

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  4. Nice story, KP. It happens anywhere round the globe. Man-woman friendships always fall prey to suspicious and unbelieving eyes. Lols! To them, it should be romance or nothing... :-D

    Blessings to you and your family.

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  5. Oh KP sir, I see and hear such incidents so frequently. It's not at all uncommong.

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  6. i didn't quite like the end.. felt it was abrupt.. maybe we should have had it as a series..ppl are so judgmental & have such complexed..sad!

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  7. Reminds me of the dialogues from the movie Maine Pyaar Kiya. Ek jawaan ladka ladki kabhi dost nahi hote. A young man and a woman can never just be friends. Nicely done! But I hope that the world slowly learns to be more secure!

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  8. Real life story.But when people are well qualified, educated and (presumably)broadminded and live in California I would think narrow minded prejudices get left behind.

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  9. Hmmm good one KP!
    Friendship is not valued when its btw opposite sex! No matter how much world progress how much people are educated! People still fail in understanding and valuing it!!!

    Good one KP!

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  10. ohhh...
    this is no story...
    i guess this is something very common..

    liked it..

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  11. Oh...very bad. Do these people exist even now?

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  12. Nice story. It happens in real life also at some places.

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  13. Some people cannot accept the fact that their spouse is just friends with someone from the opposite gender. Just shows how insecure people are.

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