All streets echoed with music. As Ranjit got down the staircase he reminisced how the streets used to be packed with kids and youngsters, both in body and at heart. People now take to their rooftops rather than the streets to give each other eccentric makeovers on Holi.
It never rains but pours. Ranjit was privy of the saying, not so much its true meaning. Ninth grade English had taught him the former. Life snickered and rubbed its hands as it set out to teach him the latter.
“Sunday’s the only day I get some rest, but today you strip me off that respite,” said Ranjit.
“You rest your bum in your computer store all day six days a week. I’d say Sunday’s the only day you have a chance for some action! I invited you over because this is the kind of football game you will never have a chance to witness,” said Vipin, slightly turning his head. The biting morning air pricked his cheeks and ears.
Love is in the air. Some try to shut it out, some fling open the window and welcome it with arms wide open. But love is capricious.
Ranjit parked his motorcycle and walked to the entrance of the university, carrying the bag with sweets his mother had sent for his sister. His jeans kept trying to sneak away from the entrapment of his belly. It would have been best to wear the belt, he thought.
Visiting his sister there brought back memories from his days in college. The fervid, frantic, melancholic, and purposeful faces made him smile wistfully. The faces outside the gates resembled those within, but in there, there was a most refreshing guilelessness about them.
While Vipin had been invited to a house party for New Year’s Eve, Ranjit spent it with relatives. He tried protesting, but his mother was too persuasive, and his father too domineering. Playing Antakshari with family until the clock struck 12 wasn’t his idea of spending the last day of the year. But his sister tried lifting his spirits, and his uncle pitched in with a few pitchers of local ale, inserting spirits into him. In time, Ranjit forgot his sullen mood and most everything else.
It was the last auspicious day of the wedding season, and the first day Ranjit wore his new suit. One of his friends was getting married, which gave him the opportunity he was waiting for. The garment was of a hue of grey more suited for old people, but his innocent face and clueless eyes conquered that minor obstacle. He had approved of what the mirror reflected, and so had Vipin, his roommate. But the moment he entered the traffic-laden areas of outer-Delhi, his mood soured.