Author: Jaideep Ghosh
Year of Publication: 2015
Price: Rs 200
About the Author:
Jaideep Ghosh was born in Chandannagar, West Bengal, in 1963, and has lived most of his life in Delhi and what is called the National Capital Region. He has worked as a sports journalist for several leading newspapers like The Statesman, The Hindustan Times and The Tribune. He has also written for digital publications. This is his first work of fiction.
An extract from this bittersweet love story follows:
“Things were different in the 80s. Life was just a little simpler, as were the demands. These were the days of single-theatre movie halls, all-route bus passes, no mobile phones and few fast-food outlets. Cars were a luxury, while scooters were in. Motor-cycles were ‘cool’.
Relationships were a little different too. If you happened to get to go and see a movie with a girl, even in a group, you were doing OK. If you managed to do it alone, you were a dude.
If you actually got to get a girl to sit on the pillion seat of your bike, do a movie AND coffee, you were really in the big league.
Rajat and Isha were big league indeed. The circumstances were perfect – Isha’s parents were in Lucknow, while Rajat’s parents were away in the Middle-East for long spells. Not that Rajat was too worried who thought what.
The first trip to the college was a little awkward. The only people Isha had ever ridden pillion before with were her father and uncle. So when she lifted herself onto the back seat of Rajat’s bike, it was a whole new world.
For one, it was much higher than her dad’s scooter and her little moped, so she felt a little uneasy, especially since she couldn’t latch on to the driver with the gay abandon of her childhood days. Not immediately anyway.
But what began as tentative hands barely touching Rajat’s shoulders soon became proprietary arms around his waist. It was as if this was destined to be and the most normal thing to happen. None of the people who knew the two of them were too surprised either.
Isha and Rajat weren’t too bothered with what who thought. They were totally engrossed with their little world.
Delhi was growing as a city in those days. With its wide roads and tree-lined vistas, Delhi was one of the places to be. The mix of history and new beginnings was creating a new world and the city was just about to explode into a megapolis.
One of those new places was the Nirula’s fast-food outlet which had come up next to the Chanakya theatre, a landmark for young people right through the 1980s and 90s.
The two of them would often find a corner there, which wasn’t always easy, with practically the entire South Campus of Delhi University, and also much of the North Campus, thronging the place.
There they would spend moments to cherish, surrounded by the sounds of the Bee Gees, Boney M, Abba and the other big guns of the world of music, as also the smells of pizzas, burgers, shakes and sundaes.
In the winters, they would try to find a place nearer to the French windows, where the sunlight filtered in through the creepers outside. Nirula’s was the place to be.”
[from Chapter Two]