Recap S2E15 – All Together:
Harry and Khush discuss the ill-effects of banning cannabis. Everyone is overjoyed at India’s diplomatic victory in getting Masood Azhar declared a global terrorist. They meet at the Golf Club in Chembur. Anita spots Mariwala, who promises to clear her dues the following day.
They had all settled down with their drinks in the bar overlooking the first and the tenth tee-offs when the news breaking on the television channel took them by surprise.
Masood Azhar being put on the global terrorist list by UN was welcome, especially in India. Khush showed around a WhatsApp message he had received from the police chief, recalling the efforts of Shom and Raima in nabbing Saif Ali. It was part of the evidence that was sent to China, leading to this development. They all were jubilant and they connected with Anu and Sanjib in Calcutta on Facetime.
“This proves that true lovers like Romeo-Juliet, Laila-Majnu and Heer-Ranjha needn’t have killed themselves,” summed up Harry. “Death was just an escape from the pressure to separate, with the hope of reuniting after death. This is attachment driven. Attachment matures to true love by living apart with memories and transmuting the energies into positive achievements like Radha-Krishna. True love doesn’t have a purpose; it is detached love or detached attachment. Shom and Raima’s love was the purest form of it because their souls merged into one another. And generated positivity for the country.”
“Now I understand what you and Mom has gone through,” commented Natasha. She didn’t have the patience to hear about Shom and Raima yet again. She wanted to sit beside her mother, and Swapna reciprocated the feeling.
This was a rare moment. Mother and daughter rarely got along and even for a person like Swapna, it was not easy to conquer this attachment. Harry had also gone through this phase. But Arjun and he were more like friends now. Unlike mother and daughter, they gave each other a lot of space. Natasha had grown up with a horrendous father and a protective mother, which had deprived her of freedom and relationships. The one with Raima had been aborted by Shom and now, she had to share Anita with Harry. Her life was a mess but she was a millionaire. Grandpa had left her all his shares and her father’s shares had automatically been transferred to her. Under Swapna’s stewardship, the company had grown ten-fold. Much as her mother tried, Natasha refused to work. She was a lost soul, but calculative too.
Though she grudged Harry’s role in Anita’s life, it also acted as a shield against Arjun’s involvement, lest it turn out like that of Shom with Raima. Of late, she had been able to draw Arjun’s attention to herself by keeping Anita busy with Harry. This is how her mind worked. Natasha was in a good mood, having spent some quality time with Arjun earlier in the day.
At the same time she wanted Swapna and Harry to be together for the security of having a dad-like person around. She teamed up with the others who wanted to know about Harry and Swapna’s past.
“You have been cornered, Harry,” said Khush, and everyone except Swapna agreed. She was reluctant to talk about her affair with Harry when she was only 15 years old.
“How old were you at that time?” continued Khush.
“I was only 28,” said Harry.
“The first time we met was when my cousin was at Elphinstone College. We had gone to Samovar Cafe at Jahangir Art Gallery opposite the college. As we entered, I saw a group of young collegians who were football enthusiasts. One amongst the lot stood out in every way. Everyone was addressing him as Harry. They were asking him about the moves the players were making in the match being telecast. His face was very expressive. I managed to draw his attention and he felt conscious about it,” recalled Swapna.
Harry continued. “I was there with the St. Xavier’s College football team. This was a Mohun Bagan-East Bengal final. How I wished Dilip dada was with me!”
“All the same, I was not able to ignore this young and appealing girl. Her innocence reminded me of Nancy, the girl from school.”
“I had no idea about his football team or where they were from. They left no sooner the match ended, delighted that their team had managed to win. All I could manage was an exchange of glances that stayed with me. I used to think about him but had no idea of his whereabouts. A year later when I was 15, I joined St. Xavier’s, where I ran into one of the guys from Harry’s group at Samovar in the college canteen. I encountered Harry soon thereafter. I was nervous because he was much senior to me. They were a group of three boys and two girls who dragged me along to Bullock Carts, the popular club at Kala Ghoda at that time.”
“What did Harry look like, then?” asked Natasha.
“A younger and better version of Arjun,” replied Swapna. “Now let’s change this topic.”
“Why?” sked Natasha, and everyone was in agreement.
But Swapna wouldn’t relent. “I want to know what Harry was up to, before we met. All I can say that he was my Mills & Boon man, and now he is simply Tom, Dick and Harry.”
Everyone laughed and Khush nudged Harry to react, which he did with a grin.
“I know the feeling that Swapna has expressed. The two of us alone understand it. Put simply, we are not attached to each other. Instead, we see each other in many forms. It’s the purity, the divinity and the godliness I would see in Mary, Susan and Jane,” said Harry.
“That’s lovely! The way you two put it,” exclaimed Anita.
“And in the sense you love each other like never before, but unlike before,” added Aneesha.
“True! I used to toss and turn in bed just thinking about him, now I don’t at all. I love him but don’t long for him,” replied Swapna.
“We are now detached in the sense that our connection has no boundaries. Detached attachment is an attachment that is stretchable beyond boundaries, yet unbreakable,” explained Harry.
“This is the love guru speaking,” commented Khush.
“Now let him tell you about Nancy; he’s always talked about her and expects me to believe that I was Nancy in my previous birth. Who knows and who cares! I just know Harry,” said Swapna.
“What were you up to, before you met Swapna?” asked Anita.
“You have told us about Cindy and Dilip, but what did you between the age of 10 and 28? What did you do for a living?” enquired Khush.
Knowing that he was cornered, Harry ordered a fresh round of drinks. “I was only ten years old, but mature for my age,” he began. “Nancy was four years older. She was stunning and had the perfect body. I used to admire her secretly. We were in a missionary school, Our Lady Queen of the Mission. She was an Anglo-Indian.”
“We were together in a school play and would rehearse after class. I used to secretly watch her undress in the changing room after the rehearsal. She apparently knew this, but l realised this much later. She would, in fact, entice me by taking her time stripping and inspecting her breasts in front of the mirror.”
“Parents and guests used to be invited to the Annual Day function. Ours was the penultimate performance, the last one was a one-act play that would run for over 40 minutes.”
“After our play, she went to the changing room. Everyone else was busy and the last performers would come back to change only after 40 minutes. l assumed the usual position behind the curtain. This time, she caught me, as if she knew exactly where I was.”
“I was terrified at first but she did not raise an alarm. As l tried to explain, she covered my mouth and then started to undress me. We were too young, totally inexperienced and nervous. We were stark naked before she took charge. She had me sitting on her lap with her breasts pressing against my back. We went on like this for a long time. She enjoyed fiddling with me. As the last act drew to a close, we dressed and left the room.”
“That was the last I saw Nancy. Being a co-ed school only till class V, I had to change schools thereafter. By the time I went back to look for her, she was no longer in school. In those days there was no means to stay in touch. Phones were few and only in affluent homes. That was my ‘Summer of ’42’,” concluded Harry.
To be continued…