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03 - When Parlour Splendours Replace Patched Windows

03 - When Parlour Splendours Replace Patched Windows

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Published by Arvind Passey

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Published by: Arvind Passey on Jul 22, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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(2163 words)(A short-story by Arvind Passey)
WHEN PARLOUR SPLENDOURS REPLACE PATCHED WINDOWS
Seduction always started with abnormal behaviour disguised as normal for DalipSingh, a slim 5'5" Linguistics-scholar from Bihar in India. He was one step ahead of being merely kinky -- he had spent the last four years seducing bursaries,scholarships, financial-aids, tuition-waivers, studentships, and assistantships. Hesolicited, always managed to get picked-up, and somehow remained intoxicated,sipping his satiating concoction of ensnared fiscal libido, a fashionable skim of literature and a facade of smiles -- all with a bravado of metaphysical flamboyance.He was a perfect illustration of how an academically insolvent talent could also getup, flap its illusory wings, and take-off. Such was the level of salesmanship in Dalipthat he could offer illusions in a photographic representation that a beholder wasleft with no choice but to become gullible. Each moment spent with him was proof of how credulous we all could be.....almost as foolish as ants getting neurotic over agiant sugar-cube on a colourful poster on the walls of a cafe.Though Dalip held a totally different opinion of himself. He adored projecting his self as one who had the capacity to pick-up 'trifles' which few but born leaders couldthink worthy of a serious consideration. That is one reason why he visibly neversaid or did anything that was infected by the virus of 'I'. No stubborn ego eversurprised him.......and the advantage was that he could get everything donewithout his ever having to ready his own back-pack, so to say. In other words, hehad mastered the art of 'harvesting without sowing'. But like any one of us, even hespent time introspecting. He once told me he loved looking out of the window. Thesame window. Always.'When I look out of the window, I don't see the whole world,' he had told methen,'Yet, every time I look out, it appears so like a stranger.'I had agreed though I could see no objective truth in what he said.***Dalip must have seen through my thinly disguised agreement because he replied, inan even stronger tone, 'When I look out of the window, I don't see the whole world.Yet every time I look out it does appear like a stranger. Fascinating. Unless of-course, it is a cursory glance. Then it becomes somewhat similar.....like all thingsthat move fast.One blur is no different than another. Like Clare ? Or was it Jude ?Or Roshni....maybe Uttara ? It ....'
 
'It could be you to them. A blur. Unclear....better forgotten,' I said. At that momentmy mind was debating if it was better being a stranger or a blur...........or maybe astrange blur.He pretended not to have heard me, sighed as he took a step back from thewindow, and turned his glance to the rack on the left.'Or these books,' he murmured,'all opened, a few pages read.....then stacked....tobecome one more blur, unless my hand reaches out to choose and make it liveagain.' He looked at me triumphantly, as if he had made his point, and spoke thenext line that sounded more like a pepsi-ad delivering its punch-line.'The choice is mine,' he exulted.Overlooking his disregard for the existence of others, and observing his pensivemental state, I replied, hammering-in a bit of enthusiasm in my words, 'That's it.Reaching out converts blurs into noticeable existence. They would form theamazement of any eyes that looked upon them.'Apparently surprised at my tame agreement, he continued, 'Like the time I hadcomplimented Jude on her lovely eyes.''Yes', I said, 'though your words were -- When they look they wave and say hello.'Dalip laughed and ran nervous fingers through his jet black hair, and wavingtowards the corner slab, said, ' Your words are very friendly. But don't wrap justwords to offer. That box of flapjacks on the corner slab is desperately waiting to bepicked-up....''Yes,' I said, and then thought that if I did not move towards the corner, therewould be no sound, no sense, no truth, and no nature in that inert syllable.I moved, almost like Dalip always moved, and with a smooth swerve, reached forthe box of flapjacks.I cannot separate the memory of that person from being alive, from thinking, fromcreating, from manipulating, or from everything one encounters from one blink toanother. Don't we all use memory to moralize and set standards for ourselves, topreach and organize celebrations for ourselves ?***Is it the room, or the window, or what is visible from the window, or what is notobvious from the window, or the rack, or the box of flapjacks lying on the same slabthat commands memory to launch its sojourns into the past ? Difficult to answer asall these factors are there where I am right now. Even Dalip is here with me
 
although like a ghost from a world that exists and yet doesn't. As I munch thechocolate-topped contentments from the box on the slab I am hopelessly andhelplessly imprisoned once again by an incident that had taken place just outsidethis window of this block in James college.'The sky is never orange, red or any of the warm hues that we are used to,......'Dalip was telling Clare, who was trying not to look bored. I interrupted, 'Don't youthink the weather here is actually wonderful......can you ever experience snow, sunand wind all at the same time in India ?' At that moment I could feel Dalip's face atmy shoulder wincing at every word he heard. But characteristically he simply smiledand replied, 'I was just attempting to connect the proverbial inflexibility of englishwomen with their weather.....but you have done it better.' We all laughed and soonparted. I went to the Wentworth PC-room, and he went with Clare for an evening of  jive-dancing.York was proving to be an excellent learning experience for both of us.The flapjack munch was long over and I went out and across the lake, through thecolleges, to Heslington Hall where I was to meet Wendy Shaw who was theinvestigation officer from Scotland Yard and had come down to solve the mystery of Dalip's death. Wendy looked up as I entered the reception area, and with aprofessional twinkle, said, 'I really appreciate your coming here, Asp. There issomething interesting I have for you.'There was silence as I settled on the chair adjacent to her, trying to keep rustles tothe minimum. Without paying much attention to what Wendy had said, Istarted,'Well, Dalip was rather close to me,' and then with a pause that was notsupposed to convey anything, continued, 'not because we shared any commoninterests but simply because we happened to be from the same country.' 'Yes.''Dalip was,...' I didn't know what to say, so I simply slowed down to a stop.'Go on.''Friendly. Dalip was friendly with a lot of girls.''That's interesting.' Wendy encouraged.***'Well, not friendly as we normally interpret this word. He was friendly in a sly,evasive way....almost like successfully shaking hands with a person without takingyour hands out of your pockets.' I stopped because I knew I could not tell Wendyanything more without confusing matters. I was at that moment looking at myhands but could see Dalip's hands holding Uttara's pen. What was he saying ? Why

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