Three word wednesday
'Do you know how my friends used to call me when we were in college 'OOOsha - the wise owl' she laughed loudly in a manner befitting a young girl of six pointing at the miniature owl sitting on the table with the graduation cap. This little owl here reminds me of those long forgotten days. Thank you for the gift, it's special to me' and her students walked out without making much noise. It was always like that. When Usha spoke, everyone looked at her totally mesmerized by her beauty, her dignified voice and at the way she spun words for her listeners. No one speaks when the wise owl is talking. They just listen.
She turned to face the others seated near her table. "Did I ever tell you about a 'literary crush' I had when I was young! It's a very interesting one. I was a huge fan of the Russian literary giant 'Vladimir Nabokov'. I had just finished reading his most famous work - Lolita". She paused adjusted the strand of hair falling on her face as gracefully as a Greek Goddess and asked inquisitively "Have any of you read Lolita?"
The subjects to whom the question was meant to looked at each other and nodded. When Ooosha spoke about books, it was usually a monologue. No one around her read anything beyond 'Nancy Drew and Sidney Sheldon'. One of the listeners replied with a sense of Euphoria ' I have seen the movie Lolita'. Ooosha acknowledged the answer and was pleased to hear it.
" I was nineteen years then. So imagine it has been such a long time since this has happened. To be precise it's been forty long years. We were traveling then constantly shuttling between my parents house in Delhi and my maternal grandparents who lived in Dalhousie" saying these words she slipped into the nostalgic mood. Her eyes became distant and she was staring at the white empty walls. One of the junior staff whispered into another's ears 'FLASHBACK'.
" Those English Bunglows, the green meadows, Dahlia gardens - it was simply wonderful. Me and my younger sister were always found picnicking near the river beds. I would carry a few books to read after our picnic, cycling along the highway with hot samosas and mint chutney in our backpacks. Lying over the grass I would dream about my first love. I used to be a romantic those days."
A few eyebrows raised, a few of them controlled their laughter by using the cover of an unavoidable cough which seemed to spread as an epidemic among the listeners. It was difficult to ignore 'such' statements. One coughed, the other picked it up. Ooosha was disturbed. She waited till the commotion ended.
" On a fine sunny Sunday afternoon we were passing through the Tibetan shopping centers which tourists always frequented. We would flirt innocently with the young uniformed officers who formed the usual crowd. That particular day I was destined to meet my 'imaginary soul mate'."
"As we walked across the lanes my eyes fell upon a man wearing a hat holding the book Lolita in his hand. I knew I had to find out who this guy was, may be a soul mate. That's why he's carrying Lolita. I followed him, he was already a few yards away. I had wasted my time staring at the book cover. My heart beat raised as I followed him closer now. May be it was destined this strange meeting. By the time I was right behind him, the book had slipped away from his fingers. I picked it up and anxiously called out 'Sir your book has fallen.' The tourist turned to face me, he was a forty year old European with green eyes. I controlled my disappointments. He said 'Young woman. You just saved my favorite book . Wait a moment I shall thank you more appropriately'. He bought a rose from a hawker around. ' This one is for you. Thank you again.' "I was completely swept away by this man's charm. Half the crowd was staring at me, smiling at this wonderful man. And I turned around to join my sister."
The listeners left out a deep sigh. But Ooosha was yet to finish she quoted her favorite lines from Lolita as a conclusion
“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta:"