We argued over the
pronunciation of "mature"
(was the "t" to be pronounced as "ch"?)
and whether "Hotel California" was an album
or a single (turned out, it was both).
As kids we were buddies,
but our friendship could not last
What kept us apart
was class; you were the rich, chubby chick,
and I, the very scrawny (and brainy?) brat,
but so middle-class. The world
already belonged to you, while I was
trying to make my way in it.
I still remember when you took me
to your palatial mansion the first time,
you farted loudly all the way in:
I hope you don't mind, you said,
and laughed heartily.
The solemn servants
did not bat an eyelid.
You were so uninhibited;
I too repressed and embarrassed
to say anything.
Similarly, at thirteen
when you flaunted your smoking,
I was suitably alarmed.
I didn't know it was a part of your upbringing
to show off, occasionally even to shock.
When you went away after our summer together,
we exchanged several letters,
sprinkled with counter culture slogans
derived from overseas—down with
capitalists pigs; make love not war!
Finally, just fifteen, I allowed myself
to feel sentimental about you.
That was the letter you didn't get,
probably withheld by one of your guardians
who watched over you and screened your mail.
The other day, decades later,
I heard you were in town
to sponsor a golf tournament.
You even got my telephone number
from a common friend.
That weekend, I waited and waited
for the call I knew would never come.
But next morning,
I was delighted to see you picture
in the newspaper,
as fat and jolly as ever,
in the gossip columns on page three.
|Copyright © 2005 - Makarand Paranjape|