My memoirs in précis are with him. In six hours that we spent together, mainly discussing the city, writing, films, human beings, food, morsels fell off my lips, giving him a taste of my life.
Who was he? Was? He is. Just a phone call away. A traveller. Carrying a parcel for me from many many miles away. A gift that was to be a surprise from someone. Someone I do not know personally. Someone who does not even have my memoirs in précis.
So, he, the one who was to have my life's morsels, met for lunch. I would recognise him. "I am a westerner," he said.
"I am black...will be wearing black."
It was not necessary. I reached early and sat at the table in the open section. Beggars stopped by. They did not ask for money, but food. One boy said, "Dal roti udhar se le aao" (buy the dal chapati for me from the place down the road).
He knew I would not leave. He knew I'd have no time. He knew I wanted to write my pain on a phone that was too smart for me. He could see the lip gloss leaving its shine on the straw I drank my iced tea with.
I hastily took out some money only to see him corner someone else. I had given him enough for his meal, but who knows hunger better than a beggar? Or, the fear of hunger?
Then, he arrived, carrying the parcel. We went inside. Ordered food. A little of this and a little of that. My watch had stopped. How does one calculate time or know that enough is enough? Does the flow of words need the dam of courtesy?
"Can we walk for a bit?" he asked.
We walked. And walked. Afternoon sun. Afternoon sea. A promenade that has changed so much since the years I have known it.
"Can we sit?"
A ledge. Ants worry me.
"Can we walk?" I asked.
It was my feet that hurt. My feet. We read inscriptions. Looked at dogs. A man, drunk or deranged, stopped and stared. His eyes widening with disbelief? Anger? Frustration?
A bench. Evening walkers had started pounding the pavements with music wired to their ears. The sky changed colour.
He asked. Something. I answered.
It struck me then. "Have I revealed too much?"
"No. You spoke."
I knew little about him. The little that was a reaction to what I said. Much of it left trailing like clouds.
I? My words were raindrops gathering air dust. Enough to let him know about monsoon.
A précis of my memoirs.