Olivia had fallen for Char Baag the very first time she was taken to, by the faculty of BCL.

The fact had escaped her mind that that was only a lounge lawn of British Council Library. But it was hard to tell that such serenity could exist in the heart of a busy metro-city, quite literally so, for Connaught Place indeed lay in the centre of New Delhi. The view was giving birth to a place in her mind, where she could lazily weave yet another fairy tale; or perhaps, sit there and let a fairy tale weave itself on its own.

She was thrilled to say the least!

The green grass blades swayed in the light breeze that blew. Soon, she was drunk in that moisture of the hanging drizzle drops. Even those fluttering pigeons were no different in shade than the ones those raided her veranda sills.

(for more images)

“What do you plan to write Olivia?”, the girl sitting next to her, wearing grey top and red leggings had asked breaking her trance.

“I thought it was a gargoyle”, had said the other one. The glass frame perched on her nose with as much poise as the salt and peppered hair she had worn on her face.

“It may be Buddha…”, had said the first one again.

“Someone enlightened with all those senses around that face…” Olivia had added trying to sound as though she herself was an enlightenment one.

“Buddha it is then”, had concluded the girl on her right, the one who had started the conversation.

“Oh well, I can go on and on about this place”, Olivia chirped pulling the thread of conversation towards herself.

“Let me try some Rowling…”, and indeed, on she had muttered about how that stone faced gargoyle was actually an opening to some other dimension. Animatedly, she had twisted her story about how it would keep leading to different worlds each time a different face outline was pressed. In her version, one would have to press the key at the far left top corner; a face with palms engraved on it. That would fit snugly transporting the seeker to…

“Could I click some snaps please…?” Olivia’s voice was mixed with anticipation and excitement.

Her trainer nodded. Flashing a wide grin, she started clicking furiously.

“That’s cheating”. Olivia turned her head in time to see a mock complaining face of that “Buddha” girl.

“Oh I’m freaking out here”, mumbled she, more like to herself.

All of that had gone swept in past by decades together; but to her, all of this had happened only a week back.

This was one such day. Raining since morning; Delhi heat had gotten killed. The suspended rain drops shone like tiny diamonds sticking on the palm leaves, reflecting the light that fell on those. The burgundy terrace umbrellas were the only hideout for the people who had chosen to sit out and talk. Passing a fleeting glance over people, she chose to sit at her usual place.

For years, she had been piling herself on the chair placed on the right side of the entrance.

Sitting cross- legged, balancing her face on the palm, while her elbow rested on the wooden table; she gazed around the wet place. She was dressed up as usual. She was wearing a bright green and lavender silk top over her black peddle pushers, with neatly trimmed short crop, her never getting smudged lipper and shapely matching long talons… everything about her was oh so charming; even her high heals, the matching Italian soles.

“I won’t be caught dressed casually even in death!” That’s how she was remembered by her friends.

The small fountain at the centre of the space was dancing wee tiny droplets of water those only got swallowed by the pouring rains. The animal shapes drawn on the facing wall, that was the left of the entrance looked little out of place to her. That reminded her of her stay in Palam Vihar, where peacocks used to sway around, their tails hung in pride like a bride sweeping her wedding gown on the ground; showing herself off to the world: her new found status and for her to keep forever…

Soon, it began to pour. People started to move in. Olivia did not.

Weather changes didn’t move her anymore.

The heady smell of the wet ground was making her go high in the head. Those creepers hanging from the ceiling dripped more drops of silver. Impulsively, she decided that she wanted to read some.

Climbing the steps…,

but her feat never touched the ground, she glided a few inches over the stone steps…;

she turned around and stretched her arms open as though to hug the view.

Nobody seemed to notice her. But nobody had ever noticed her even sitting in the library.

She was on her own like she always had been- happy, how she had made people around her believe, and ignored by everyone close to her.

Even death lay defeated to bring about any changes in her destiny.


About Olivia

Corporate worker, textile designer, writer.
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