Lin and Abdullah have just finished smoking hashish as they strolled down Marine Drive. Neither one of them are speaking, but a sea breeze reminds them of each other’s presence. Abdullah breaks the silence. “I had a woman once.” Lin doesn’t answer. Another sea breeze, only this time, the sea breeze wraps around them. “Lin.” It was a whisper, but he heard it. “Lin.” He couldn’t distinguish the voice, but he knew it was a woman’s voice. Dissecting what he just heard, he re-examines two beggars squatting near a lamppost. “What’s wrong,” asks Abdullah.
“Didn’t you hear someone?”
“I heard nothing.” He gives Lin a nudge and says, “Come on. Let’s go to Chowpatty beach and eat bhel puri.” They mount on Abdullah’s bike and speed down the 3-kilometer stretch boulevard. As they’re nearing the beach, Lin hears the voice again, “Lin.” Someone was using an innuendo to catch his attention. Lin’s directs his focus and sees a figure in the distance. He sees her, Kavita! She is standing near a taxi but doesn’t move. Lin runs towards her, “Kavita! Kavita!” Tears are forming in his eyes. As he gets closer Kavita vanishes. Catching his breath, he searches for her, up and down the boulevard. “Lin! What happened? Why were you running,” Abdullah asks.
“Didn’t you see her?”
“Kavita! What do you mean who? She was standing right there!” Pointing his finger at the taxi again.
“Lin are you okay? This is nonsense. Kavita is dead. We cremated her, remember?”
Lin squats down and buries his face in his hands. He’s crying with such vigor, he had to gasp for air in between. Abdullah settles down beside him and remains silent. Lin has shed no tears for Kavita since her death. After a few minutes, Lin gets up and walks to the nearby bench. Abdullah sits by him, enjoying the bhel puri, a savory iconic Indian snack. With food in his mouth, he says, “I know you miss her. But she’s gone.” Lin gets up again and says, “I’ll be right back.” He wanders down the beach to a small, abandoned food stand. It’s where they would always meet. In hiding, since Kavita’s father opposed the relationship. On the counter, in small fashioned handwriting, he read, “I’m always with you.”
P.s. The Golden Bracelet