It was only when she roared did he first realise of the fury she contained within. Some people manage to hide their other selves for so long, and then surprise everyone around them when they finally reveal it. So calm had she been all the while they have had been together – a face that always bore a smile – as if incapable of being angry with anyone.
The couple had just got out of a pub. Both drunk. Supporting each other as they moved forward – like siblings entrusted with a duty to take care of each other by their strict father. But both confident enough about his driving abilities. He shifted the gear to reverse but accelerated a little more than what was needed — perhaps it was the alcohol and what they say about not to drive when drunk or one of those nights when nothing goes right for a man — and the car smashed into an auto coming from behind. The auto driver, who had already seen enough during the day, grew livid and soon got down from his auto. He began scanning the auto on the spots where it was hit, caressed it like his baby, and made his steps towards the car. He yelled something in Kannada or Telugu — both the languages seemed indistinguishable to the couple at this late hour especially when they were intoxicated — and kept shouting without seeing its occupants, throwing his hands in all the directions, as if regulating a crowd that has gone berserk on the road.
The husband alighted from the car and tried to reason with the auto driver. Alcohol evident in his husky voice. ‘Bhaiya, you came all of a sudden from behind’. But the auto driver was in no mood of any sort of settlement just yet, at least not from someone who didn’t know his first language. And so he banged the car with his fist. It was only then that she decided to step out of the car despite her husband’s instructions against her stepping out of the car at any point in their conversation.
She stepped towards where the two men were now arguing and politely asked the auto driver to accept the apology and let them go without creating a scene. But the driver was persistent. ‘Ahhh, saaaar and madaam, you drink night day, and I make scene’, the driver retorted, mustering all the words from English he had managed to learn on his vocation. It was exactly at this time he first saw her raising her voice against anyone for the first time. Next few minutes passed in what was a monologue from her. And now the husband and the driver were transfixed at what had seemed to be a cute and docile face just a few minutes back. The driver had least expected what he witnessed but the husband was now completely sober. As if the very last traces of alcohol have been sucked out of his body. He stared at her just like he did when he had first fallen in love with her. It was in their college mess. She was with a plate in her hand, waiting in the queue to get the food, wearing a blue suit, her left heel lifted above the ground and then swinging rhythmically, up-down, up-down, up-down, clearly indicative of the hurry she was in to catch the afternoon class. And his own face followed the rhythm of her feet, appearing to someone observing him from a distance as if he was nodding like a docile child.
And now, she was standing here in the short dress — which he agreed on her wearing only after she and the time they had been together managed to convince him that he was her ultimate choice — he fell in love with her again. It seemed all the more weird, with she being drunk, and chiding an unknown man, the unknown man scared of what form had this lady transformed into, and with so many people surrounding them. But he kept gazing at her, now at her face that matched the complexion of the moon above their heads, and then at her hands moving ferociously in all the directions, and then again at her face – the same face that spoke too little otherwise, answering only when questioned to, and now was doing all the talking and the lambasting. The driver asked him to control his wife lest she kills him, but the husband was smiling as if unable to contain all that the night gave him, all that his wife offered him. ‘Will you say something now, or will you continue staring…?… Nevermind’ he heard her say. And all he managed to utter was ‘I Love You’.
She stared at him, her face now bearing hopelessness and love in uneven proportion.
And he smiled. And the driver smiled, and so did everyone else standing in the vicinity who managed to hear him.
The image has been downloaded from google.com, and I don’t know what to say about it.