Did I tell you of the time when Ghongha Basant had a girlfriend? (It's true. He did have one). No? Well then...
The girl was beautiful and smart. She used to sit quietly with her elbows hunched over her knees. Her long hair used to fall over her ears onto her shoulders as she would close her eyes and take yet another deep puff of smoke from her joint. Every non homosexual kid in the neighbourhood was, at least at one point in his life, deeply in love with her.
The onslaught of Time has caused the name of the girl to have been forgotten (Ghongha never told me her name. Maybe he was bluffing). I choose to call her Jenny for want of a better option and for the fact that it reminds me of Robin Wright in Forrest Gump.
Those who knew/were friends of Ghongha (like a certain someone called Nanga Fakir), were shell shocked when they got to know this. When together, they concurred that the girl was the most foolish they had come across. When alone, they bemoaned rampant injustice in the world. Anyway, back to the story.
Ghongha and his girl were lying on the grass on a cool night staring at the stars. Romance was in the air, thanks to the fact that Ghongha had read the last copy of the book How to Cootchie-Coo? from the library last night.
Jenny: The night's so beautiful! I remember the time when I was a kid. I used to sleep on the roof just so I could see the stars while I sang myself to sleep.
When Ghongha was a kid he used to catch frogs from the black, sludgy pond near his house and tear them to pieces for want of better things to do. But the Cootchie Coo book expressly forbade recounting of old emotional tales of battered, abused childhoods at romantic events. So Ghongha decided to play safe and stay quiet.
Jenny, probably overwhelmed by happy memories of a blissful childhood, snuggled into Ghongha and put her arms around him.
Jenny: I am so glad I found you. Love's such a beautiful thing! I love you so much!
The Animal inside Ghongha raised his head. The Book had forbidden this too. So he bit his lip hard and resisted the Animal.
Ghongha: So what?
Jenny: Let me ask you ask a question.
Ghongha: Uh huh...
Jenny: Was there any girl other than me in your life?
Ghongha remembered all the imaginary girlfriends he had had over the last five years. And he smiled a wry smile. "No...imaginary beings don't count", he remembered.
Jenny: Is it??? No...you're lying.
Ghongha: No, it's the truth.
Jenny: Don't you feel attracted to other women? It's okay, you can tell me. I won't be mad. It's human after all. Doesn't that dirty mind of yours ever think about other girls who are soooo pretty? Ha? C'mon...
She laughed a short laugh, her pearly teeth flashing all over the place. Ghongha's heart skipped a beat and something inside him contracted sharply at the sight of such a heartbreakingly beautiful sight.
He wanted to hold her tight and scream into her ears all he had ever felt about her. He wanted to tell her that she was the only one who had ever treated him like a human. He wanted to tell her his life story, about the experiments he had performed on animals, about the many people he'd fucked over, about the twin imaginary sister-girlfriends Kiki and Boo Boo he had met when he was left to drown in the sludge pond at the age of thirteen. But he couldn't.
Damn that book. "You can win...", it said. "...if you play smart and impress the other sex".
Ghongha smiled a wicked grin.
Ghongha: No I don't think about other girls when I am with you.
Jenny: (with extreme happiness) You're kidding me! Why do you do that? Is there a reason?
Ghongha prepared for the punchline, the killer blow which would knock anybody up, kill two birds with one stone...
Ghongha: A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.
How did the idiom go? A slap in time saves nine...eh?