By Pragya Lal

“Why is this aunty doing Anulom vilom on our spot?” he thought to himself as he checked his watch. It was seven, she would be here soon.

She and Him had met over a week ago, in the unassuming, green confines of a Delhi Nagar Nigam Park. Under the canopy of trees that moved their boughs languidly in sync with the soft breeze that bore the distant sound of a Bhajan, they had sat on a cemented bench and shared a smoke with the ease that only strangers share.

Was it the need for a light that had led to the initiation of a conversation? They didn’t remember. Every evening they found themselves in the familiar surroundings of the park. In those twenty minutes they spent together they were just She and Him; without the weight of pretences or expectations on their shoulders. In those moments stolen from their mundane-when-not-maddening daily grind, it didn’t matter that she had attendance issues or the faintest clue about what she was going to do after she graduated, it didn’t matter that he didn’t have a job or enough money to buy himself the Sub of the day.

Their conversations were cathartic, not inquisitive, patronizing or valorising but simply cathartic. They lived in the todays and looked forward to the tomorrows, dwelling on yesterdays was not an indulgence they permitted themselves. “Sab ke sab Ch*t*ye hai, Bh*nch*d!” they would exclaim in agreement from time to time. When anger turned to amusement and when laughter filled the awkward silences was hard to tell. The intimacy they shared as strangers and comrades was paradoxical yet pleasurable.

It was 7.15, she was here. The aunty had still not budged from their spot. They found themselves another cemented bench and exchanged smiles along with classic milds, this was their moment. As several airplanes passed them by in the dimly lit sky, they sat in comfortable silence – inhaling and exhaling.

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