Thursday, June 14, 2007

Kalpit: A Love Story

It is a simple love story. Kalpit fell head over heels for Kavita. Or to put it without the cliché, I pushed him into a highly crowded DTC bus and he fell as he was scrambling to get in. He found his nose on her toes with florescent green nail polish on them. The world stopped for an eternity for him and unfortunately for me. For me as Kalpit was delaying my entry into the bus, while I was being squeezed by smelly, disgustingly sweaty bodies from all angles. For him as he was, according to what he told me later, "looking at the most beautiful toes, toes that were carved out of the extremely agile fingers of Kaamadev; carved to a beauty which could have driven Shakespeare to suicide - for after failing to capture their beauty in his poetry, he would have failed at paintings and sculpture too."

Kalpit said the toes with florescent nails appeared out of nowhere in his life and shattered all that had mattered to him before that instant. In one moment, his existence was transformed from a featureless, trite daily affair to the saga that will inspire poets and writers like me to write stuff that would in next century be hailed among the best novel selection of Modern library.

He swore that the toes impressed him not only with the natural beauty they possessed, for the beauty you are born with is after all just a gift, many have it but lose it to time and carelessness (like intellect, which I told him, he had lost), he said, the toes were painted with the extraordinary care, craft and creativity that Van Gogh and other impressionists never knew, that the great masters during Renaissance only aspired for. He said the brush strokes were remarkable in both form and ingenuity. They were bold expressions of an internal harmony, that must have burst from her lips as well her finger tips, and in the crescendo of her mellifluous song, each layer seemed to have fused effortlessly with the next stroke from those soft, sensuous hands.

I reminded him that he was still describing what he experienced as he looked at her toes, which meant he had no means of knowing if she even had hands to do the artwork, or better still wipe her ass.

His face changed expression momentarily, but he flushed out all the disgust over my remark and had continued his monologue. "Vivek, you must understand, that what I am telling you is important. For all you know, this might be the story you will use to compete with the romances of Jane Austen, as for all you know she might be the Elizabeth for me."

I wanted to say that if she was Elizabeth, he was no Mr. Darcy, which maybe I was, and since this led to a naughty smile on my face, he mistook it for my taking his remark seriously and continued.

"You see," he spoke in his deep nasal baritone, "You see, the choice of color itself is remarkable; green is the color of freshness, of joy. Florescence shows a brilliance, a glimmer of hope. It lends an aura to the ten different masterpieces, so similar from distance, but each different, complex, intricate in design. Ten masterpieces created by an artist blissfully ignorant of her talents! It will be a shame that these would be lost forever as there is nothing and noone to capture their beauty."

My mind was now wandering on endless tangents. Ideas propped up like blisters on a burnt hand. I wondered if one could tear off nails and preserve them forever, or if Michael Angelo had ever painted his nails too. If so, with what color and using what pattern. If he did, was he approached by gay men?

But I simply said to him, "Green is a mundane color my friend, as much the color of weed as of greed."

He just shook his head and remarked that I was obsessed with an inartistic view of the world, and pronounced that I needed a girl in my life. "A girl in your life gives you colored glasses, everything turns into shades of red, violet, pink and blue, and in the celebration of colors, you rejoice like a drunken bumble bee does in a garden in full bloom."

I chuckled at the thought, remarked he missed out on the green glasses, and observed that a girl in life is a grief, and once she leaves you, takes off with your colored glasses, life becomes black and white again. The world become the colorless fall forest where an owl hoots on every branch.

After spending that extra few seconds of eternity at her feet, Kalpit rose, fumbled with his sorry, heard Kavita murmur “its ok” as she writhed her way away from us and got down at the next stop. I think I forgot to mention that Kavita is not her real name. It has not been changed to hide her identity as the smart Alecs would guess. It is just this that we do not know her name. I came up with Kavita because Kalpit’s name begins with K and he shares Ekta Kapoor’s obsession with the words starting with K.

In Bollywood, flashback is always poor on color, it is mostly black and white, sometimes it also has a shade of green or fuzziness about it. In Kalpitwood, the flashback lived a charmed life, and by aging with time in the ferment of his endless obsession, became the memories he lived by.

A few days later we were standing under a tree, sipping tea from the glasses placed in our hands by the seemingly young boy. He was about twelve year old, sat in front of a kerosene stove, with kettle over it, a bucket by the side for washing the glasses, and a box that had tea, sugar and bunch of cookies and pastries that smelt as bad as they tasted. We stood facing the road, and as we chattered we noticed Kavita passed us on a Kinetic Honda, and as she passed she sent out a smile.

Kalpit claims that the smile was a smile of recognition, a smile of affection, and swore that he would wait under the tree everyday. He announced that the tea and the tree had become hallowed forever, and that the boy was the nicest shopkeeper in the whole world and would rise like Ambanis, maybe will become the biggest hotelier of India.

I think she smiled just because as soon as she came into sight, Kalpit was so struck by the moment that he spilled tea over his cream colored khakis and the pale blue shirt. He jumped in both joy and pain, as hot fluid touched his skin. He jumped about like the buffoons do in a crazy mating ritual (I just made that up, but I think he did look like a buffoon. People who watch Discovery channel can enlighten me.)

Kalpit asked the boy if he knew when the girl who just passed on her scooter drove through there, and the boy simply said, “Sahib, this street is full of people, and why must I care or count who goes by and when. If she had come to my shop, I could have known.”

Kalpit blamed lack of education for his lack of this general awareness, decided this one was no Ambani types and was now doubly wounded by her going in and out of his life. Then in his characteristic cheerfulness burst into the song, (Aap yun hi agar humse milte rahe, dekhiye ek din pyar ho jayega.. or) “If you continue to meet me like this, one day you will fall in love”. Practical matters took toll of his plan of standing waiting there.

Life has its own ways of taking care of things. A week later we were dining in Madras Café in Green Park, I was facing towards the street, while Kalpit was busy with a Masala Dosa, had his back towards the door. I saw Kavita enter the café, and with her came Ranjan. Ranjan was Kalpit’s schoolmate, and they both had shared a great friendship till that day.

Ranjan just walked up to us and introduced Kavita as Shashi, the new found love of his life, while old Kavita, new Shashi just fostered a nice smile and seemed to have no recollection of having seen us somewhere.

It was ok to forget me, I was just the narrator, and not the hero of this story, but to ignore Kalpit was unacceptable. His eyes were lowered now, I followed them and saw that the ten masterpieces were still displaying that green florescent nail polish. It had come off at places, her toes seemed no different from human toes (or monkey toes for that matter) and these lay there as also in the eyes of Kalpit remained, the vestiges of beauty they had once carried, ideals they had once inspired.

As we silently sipped our filter coffee, Kalpit remarked, “I read somewhere that you lose your head for ten seconds after every accident, and don’t you think both my meetings with her were accidental?”

I just smiled, thought how poetically an ode, Kavita had turned to the moon, Shashi, and Shashi, this moon, was now disappearing off the horizon of the imagined, Kalpit, and again I was left alone in the company of the imagined.

(Feb 28, 2005;
India Smiles Contest, Sulekha)


Vivek said...


Aeternitas Comment By : Aeternitas
Posted On : Jun 15 07, 05:00 PM

Enjoyed it. You have a knack for humor :)

Hebrew Princess Comment By : Hebrew Princess
Posted On : Jun 15 07, 02:41 PM

Hey Vivek - the description of the toe nails was poetic - is this inspired from some real life event?


Richa Comment By : Richa
Posted On : Jun 14 07, 04:03 PM

Hey Vivek !!!

Welcome aborad dude!

Loved your sense of humor in this one and trust me ,I feel baaaadddd for kalpit !Poor guy did not deserve to have his idea of beatuty turn to dust like that !

But this was a nice read ...

Vivek said...


« Back to Post
Vivek Sharma comments: on 15 Jun 07 11:40:00 AM
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:) For the millionth time I announce that fiction is fiction.

My own story, my own life, my own love affairs, failings and character, are neither revealed in these stories, nor part of them. You might be in them, but even if it is you, I will add my touch, my style, my perspective and my strangeness to make you unrecognizable.

swsham comments: on 14 Jun 07 23:56:00 PM
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Good luck for your love
vandana1982 comments: on 14 Jun 07 23:37:00 PM
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"In one moment, his existence was transformed from a featureless, trite daily affair to the saga that will inspire poets and writers like me to write stuff that would in next century be hailed among the best novel selection of Modern library. "



Vivek said...

from dud sea scrawls:

Sun, 2007-06-17 23:06 — Vivek New
Toe-ing that line

Rama, Its funny when one reads his own older posts:) I wrote this story a couple of years back, and “Foot fetish” is the idea that hit me as well. I did some edits before posting it, but the toes are here to stay.

Thanks Artra. Personally I think I am still struggling with narration: though part of the problem is that I keep so little time for writing and a smaller fraction for prose. I wish I could find a magic handbook of sorts to serve as guidelines for paragraph breaks etc. Suggestions welcome.

* edit
* reply

Sat, 2007-06-16 20:57 — rama_the_drama
i think you should call it.."Foot Fetish" :)

“for after failing to capture their beauty in his poetry, he would have failed at paintings and sculpture too.” – that was very original!

* reply

Fri, 2007-06-15 04:17 — atrakasya

very well narrated!

Ardra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ardra said...

Please check out:


Rohit Agarwal said...

haha...... really a nice one!

kaavya said...

More smiles :)