Sunday, June 4

A jar of sugar cube and IMFL whiskey

A sugar cube, he always took a sugar cube in his black tea. That old aluminium kettle with a piping curved mouth, and a base which had blackened due to being put on the fire stove for minimum dozen times a day. More than often, it faced water in it evaporating and the leaves being starched of everything it could infuse! The tea was always poured into the glass in which the IMFL whisky used to be poured in the evenings, when in background songs of Oliver Michael, Bryan Adams, Elton, Sharda Sinha, Bhikhari Thakur, Kishore Kumar etc played! She wanted him to drink scotch, which defines and creates distinctions about one's personality. Single Malt or double, it was a one off occasional thing for him, not something he liked to do. Scotch resembled his part of the personality which used to charm and sweet talk, easily taken as flirting, with almost everyone he met, but that never provided him solace, his solace lay in the IMFL, him which was him, devoid of refinement of words, thought process. Meanwhile in the background, one could hear visceral songs, which could move stones to tears, but not the person who used to lay on his sofa with a smile, while he used to read anything and everything. One’s own company, that’s all he sought. And this desire brought him to a nondescript village in a far flung area close to borders of Burma! He used to smile seeing the ferns, flower, beetle, and the ‘Kadamb’ tree he had sown in front of the wooden gate, which bore the name plate which inscribed just one word, ‘kadamb’! She used to make the best Kadamb chutney in the world, and he used to come from behind hold her in his arms, and whisper, ‘My sugar cube, you fit in my world perfectly. There is nothing else I need. You are everything that I ever asked for.’ The only semblance of her in his life now, was ‘Kadamb’ his house, and the sugar cubes in the glass jar kept on his study table! He lay thinking about his ‘Sugar Cube’, when somewhere in the background was a song being played which brought a smile to his lips, and saline to his eyes. ‘Hazar rahein mud ke dekhi, kahi se koi shada na aai. Badi wafa se nibhayi tumne, hamane thodi si bewafai’