Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Gone with the past

Last night I finally managed to get through the marathon "Gone with the wind". I started it a few days back. First I couldn't finish it as friends landed up and the next time the DVD konked off. Yesterday, when I finally saw 'The End' flashing, it felt like completing a marathon without a leg.

Now I am sure everybody must be wondering what took me half my life to watch this classic. Like hubby said, I must be a late bloomer, as he mentioned if there's any blooming going to happen at all...

And what does a mere male know what he gained by his wife not watching it, at the time when the whole city was talking about it!

Much over a decade ago, "Gone with the wind" played at one of the popular theatres in Bombay, Regal. And everybody who heard of the book clamoured to get into the theatre and come out beaming, "Not as good as the book... but great movie..."

"I just love Rhett Butler!" shrieked the girls. Most of these juveniles were my classmates and friends.

And in all this, B, my Kenyan friend and I remained above the berserk crowd as we walked the tree lined lanes of Colaba. We were the same size, had the same sense of humour, wore each others clothes, spent money on 'frivolous things' and were often broke. The beginning of the month, we lived like queens, and by the end, we walked everywhere and ate only hostel food.

The only difference was, B was a terrific dancer. I was not. I bunked class and hid myself in my room to read. B attended classes religiously and shared her notes with me. I also had a permanent murderous look etched on my face for all those who stared at B's pretty face, chocolate skin and braided hair.

We often went to the Salvation Army where B's sister was putting up for some time. In the afternoons, there would be people lazing in the shade of the huge verandah on the first floor. A few would be leaning back on armchairs with their books, a few without books listen to music. Some chat and some just sit. Interesting people from different countries, some travelling, some staying there for a couple of months. But one thing was certain there was no hurry here. Time stood still and everybody had a look of calmness on their face.

I often read there while B spoke to her sister. One afternoon, I watched the group nearby engrossed in chess. While the handsome Frenchman pondered and pondered, I asked if he wanted some help. He yelped, "oui! oui!! yesyes!!"

I made my move. The game, alongwith a few hearts were won. All of us became friends. The Frenchman, Jacque, considered himself special. He was, actually. His face turned bright (I imagined) when he saw me and we spent many afternoons exchanging stories. I learnt he was a swimming instructor, who worked for 6 months in a year, and the other 6 months he spent travelling. I was facinated with his tales of people and places he went to.

And then he asked me, could he take me out for a movie... "Gone with the wind" to be precise. It was playing nearby, supposed to be a great film, and he would love to go with me. I could almost see the only French connection word I knew, playing in my mind "French kiss"!! Ah! Surely I wasn't ready for it ye..t. B was so excited that she screeched, "Great!ShewasdyingtowatchitandIdidn'twanttogo.. soyoucantakeher.. tomorrowthen?" And the next day, I lied to him that I wasn't free... "could we go tomorrow?"... and he said "Certainly. Tomorrow then." very kindly. I felt a little guiltly.

The next day, I heard of some party my friends in Pune were going to. I went and told Jacque, I had to rush to Pune as I had to see a sick friend. But we would catch the movie when I got back on Monday. He said, he would wait.

When I got back Jacque was gone. He left me a note with his friend. "I am sorry I have to leave suddenly. My mother is very sick, maybe dying. She asked for me. I hope to come back next year. Remain happy and smiling, my dear. Love Jacque. p.s. We will watch the film next time. Wait for me, please."

His friend asked if he could take back a letter for Jacque. I replied I would post it to him. This was before the days of mobiles phones and e-mails. I realised Jacque didn't know anything beyond my name and what I was studying in college. Everyday I meant to write a nice letter and didn't. When I finally did write it, I found out I had lost the slip of paper with his address. I was miserable for some time but recovered. After B's sister moved out a month later, I never went back to Salvation Army.

And last night, I finished watching a movie, I was supposed to watch in my past. I just hope Jacque too has caught up on "Gone with the wind."

20 Comments:

Blogger shub said...

awwww...lovely post :)
i hope he stumbles onto your blog one day! :)
have u tried googling? ;)

2:22 PM  
Blogger Chakra Sampath said...

fantastic... u certainly do have a way with words. very well done. hope Jacque wd be reading this sometime.

2:34 PM  
Blogger anumita said...

shub: I hope so too. No point googling, there must be a Jacque in every house in France.

Chakra: There is a faint, no, impossible, hope that somewhere Jacque reads this. Only reason I put his name and not just initials.

4:02 PM  
Blogger Tarun said...

it's never too late for watching a good movie, reading a good book, eating yummy food, commiting your mistake, visiting a nice place and meeting a good person....that what I think.

8:54 PM  
Blogger Colors said...

Aha! a French connection!
Nice one :-) Me too hope he reads this someday.

2:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anumita, i need to close my wings and stop gliding for awhile. there are some issues i need to tackle on my own. but if this is the last time i am gonna have a glance of the blogland, lemme me leave you with my usual hugs and smile.. with the hope that some day when i find the courage to glide once more, you'd still be here and that the path would be clear..

Angel Floral

11:07 AM  
Blogger anumita said...

Tarun: You think right. Never too late for ANYTHING. There are no regrets for anything. Just hopes and wishes.

colors: Thanks :)

angel: You do what you have to do, baby. And don't give up writing. I am sure I will see you here soon, happier and better. Take care.

5:35 PM  
Anonymous sp said...

heh. sounds like a base for a nice short story, if it has not been told already...

poor clark gable and vivien leigh.. never quite got out of the mould GOTW put them into.. great book. another one hit wonder.

5:40 PM  
Anonymous Uma said...

Wow Anumita, what a story. You do write so well. Just thinking if someone starts forwarding to friends in France, there is small chance that we could track Jacque....

5:41 AM  
Blogger Aishah said...

I really enjoyed readint that

2:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ur a true blue bombayite is it!...u brought memories of my school days..my school was in colaba

jo

1:15 AM  
Blogger venkat said...

Interesting and lovely post,Anumita. Would you do differently if it were to happen now under the same circumstances? Did the guys find Ms.B attractive,charming and beautiful or exotic and different? I hope the MOM and other members of the family of that young man are feeling a little better and slowly back to their normal lives. Rahul

10:51 AM  
Blogger Ad astra per aspera said...

Lovely post Anumita.
My favvvvvvorite book. The movie was not half as good as the book though. I love the way you linked the past to the title of the book.

3:38 PM  
Blogger anumita said...

sp: Short story? I guess this is the stuff they are made of.
Thanks for visiting.

Uma: That's an interesting thought. But in hindsight, I think Jacque is more precious as a memory.

maharani saima: Thank you. :-)

jo: true blue... I don't know. But I have lived in bbay for the longest period of time than any other place.
You in Colaba? Which school was it?

Venkat: Or are you Rahul? Anyway, to answer you, I would probably act differently today. But it's the past and I have no regrets.

ad astra: Thanks. I loved the book too.

5:11 PM  
Blogger sanguine said...

that was a very sweetpost, anumita ...loved it ..

12:21 PM  
Blogger anumita said...

sanguine: Glad you liked. Thanks for visiting.

4:29 PM  
Blogger Shobha said...

Beautiful :) I do hope that you get to be in touch with your friend. I had written something about an old aunt of mine with whom I had compleetly lost in touch with on my blog. Believe it or not, I met her after a few months of posting that entry. It wasn't due to google though. But still, even i had the hope that someone who would know her might read the post and tell her. hehe! Nice blog...

6:17 PM  
Blogger anumita said...

shobha: Hey, how lucky meeting your aunt! However I am not sure I would even want to meet up with Jacque. Live has moved on and some things are more beautiful in the past. Or maybe...

10:14 AM  
Blogger Pallavi said...

love that book and the movie. its a classic

1:21 PM  
Blogger anumita said...

Pallavi: When you come next, we will sit together and watch it.

1:44 PM  

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