She collected the pleural fluid in a specimen bottle handed it over to the nurse, gave the treatment orders, and looked at her watch. Latha was in Surgery postings, they met in the corridors. Latha expected Madhu to do the unexpected, so she smiled warmly “Was that all? What do you want to do? I read an interview, out for one ball etc. I knew that would be true, you control all other variables before losing control, and if you can’t stagnate the variable you quit” Madhu laughed, no, she wanted to stagnate for someone, she was tired of being the variable. She wanted to be controlled by some one else, she was tired of this vigilance squad inside. Latha, did not know, what an agony it was to see so much beauty and ugliness simultaneously, she did not feel the loneliness of several births, the isolation in crowds, that longing for a misty union with some love from another world.“It was like that monoact, just that lonely. I think I should find a speciality of escapism.” Latha linked arms with Madhu; she was a silent woman, with animal magnetism, a keen interest in ophthalmology, she saw a lot more than what she heard. Madhu felt like a small hurt animal with a punctured pleural sac, standing beside her.

They reached the college campus, Latha commanded “Don’t look to your right, that notorious gang is waiting to meet you” They were juniors, but were lewd from the days of fashion show. As Madhu unconsciously fiddled with her dupatta, one of them stepped forward with the blow up of her photograph kissing AD, “Can you autograph this?” Madhu took the pen from his hand and signed her name, it was in blue ink, he made a show of kissing her writing on the photograph, any reaction, was welcome, so she did not react.

May be like that maestro who broke the strings, she could not act and was running away, she was always eloping alone,leaving behind someone or something, saying that love was else where, may be she was very selfish, only in love with her self, or protecting her self from herself which was impossible. She needed someone else to do that save her from her self, she thought of the phone calls of that morning.

Her friends did not ask her about the movie, they grounded her by college gossip, they spoke of Anand’s marriage to be held in a nearby hall, they criticised his bride, Suchithra was particularly scathing. Apparently he had brought her to show his college, library included. Madhu thought of her poems, blushing of the soul, ought to have a term, if not in medical dictionary, at least in Greek or Sanskrit. It may rhyme with bruise.Dictionary housed grand dead words, unknown to living tongues.


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