The black and white poster on the wall opposite my bed- with ‘a girl and a boy in an
intimate gesture and a slogan in RED saying-I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs, I protect
myself from HIV Aids’ were like a mockery to my present state.
Even though I don’t do drugs or paid sex but my frequent intake of booze
and smoking pot were enough to put me on the opposite side of the spectrum.
Anyway, the poster stayed there for a long time, she pasted it there to remind me of my
bad habits. Poor her! And although she disappeared, the habits didn’t. I was thinking
what to do with the poster as I was packing my belongings to move to a new place.
I turned to Manas but could not ask him about my doubts. Manas was there when I first
met her. He was there when we became friends and then best of friends, when we fell in
love and even when it collapsed. He witnessed it first hand and thank God! He was on my
side. I guess he knew it was inevitable and I wasn’t to be blamed.
I carried on with my packing, until I found another piece of memory in my drawer-A
tissue paper where she wrote something on our second valentine’s day together. I cursed
myself. I had this bad habit of coaxing her to write things on a napkin every time we met
at a restaurant.
“You can’t be right every time. Just because you are a couple of years older than me,
doesn’t give you the right to be right you know. But I still love you- moron,” – read the
forgotten piece of napkin. I hid it hurriedly before Manas could see it. I have not met her
ever since we broke up. Heard she still works for the same NGO.
She once said that we would have a small house with three rooms and a well furnished
kitchen; made me promise that I’d prepare her breakfast every Sunday. It was amazing to
visualize those Sundays then. It’s funny now to think that I’d subscribe books on baking
rather than pornography, like most of my friends, just because she loved cakes. I sold all
those books last winter.
But what do I do with the poster? The question still remains.
Manas left the room to call the pick up van. My soon to be ex- landlord was already at
the door steps to clean the room before his next tenant arrived. “Come out. The vehicle is
at the gate. We need to move,” I heard Manas. An old rickety mini van, stuffed with all
my belongings ready to move out. I wondered what to do with the poster. Should I take
it? I decided to ask Manas and stepped outside. ….
I rushed back to my room. But the wall was empty. My landlord or should I say my ex-
landlord was busy ripping the poster into pieces as he scowled at me saying -“Who’s
going to clean this huh? your year old junk”. So much for a poster on the wall, I laughed.