Today is story time.

It’s nothing impressive, just something I’d like to pick out and remember.

My mother has loved roses ever since she was young. I’ve heard stories of her childhood days, when she would escape running a neighbour’s garden, having plucked (or stolen?) a red rose or two. But I could never get myself to like it as much.

The colour rose, that shade of pink, is beautiful. But then, I find all shades of pink beautiful.

The colours of roses are beautiful too. Yellow, red, white. When I was 10 or so, I drew roses in my art file more than anything else. The petals fascinated me. And even more so, shading different tones between those curves. Yet, I would get myself carnations over roses from a florist on a average Tuesday evening.

And this year, in January, I came across a person named “Rose”. Unnecessary information, but at first, I thought she was Russian. And I’m going to skip the explanation behind.

But on an average Tuesday evening, this week, I described Rose as if she was a character in a story. This is what I came up with:

“Rose? Rose is a friend, or maybe just an acquaintance. She’s some two inches taller than me, broad-shouldered and heavy breasts. Her skin is dark, there’s acne on her cheeks, and her origins in the South of the country. She wears knee-length kurtis and denim jeans. And I have never noticed her footwear.

The colours she wears are bright ones. Yellow, red, white. I put yellow first because that’s the colour I first noticed her in this summer.

She doesn’t read books. She tells me how she can’t concentrate. One time, I wrote something on a piece of paper, something one paragraph long, and she took it from me, to see how I wrote. And she gave it back to me, having read not even the first line.

She doesn’t like descriptions. She prefers films and documentaries. A French film and a documentary on Chennai water crisis.

She doesn’t like studying. And you might ask, but who does? But her disliking, I’ve found, is a bit different. She doesn’t mind a 9 to 5 job, she could work till 10. Hasn’t graduated from college yet, have done no internships, but wants to work already.

I might just be the opposite. But then, this is not about me.

Her expressions are controlled. A stretch of the lower facial muscles when impressed, and nothing much else. Her laugh is – eyes pinched, body leaning forward, mouth uncovered, yellowish teeth showing. Her laugh is quiet. Like the quiet of an evening, the sound of a lonely bird in an empty park.

When she speaks, words slip out of her mouth in soft movements. As if she’s so comfortable with the sound of her voice. And if you engage in a conversation with her, she’ll make you feel comfortable with your own.

This is all there is to her. I have never connected with her on any of the social media platforms, not even texting. And this is all I know, all I will ever know, perhaps.

I think, if there was a story with Rose in it, everything around her would seem so simple. The colours, the talks, the activities. You would go from one page to another with a soft smile on your face.

Of course, there are things I don’t know about her. Things I will never know, perhaps. But for now, I hold an outline of her in yellow crayon and it’s the prettiest sketch I’ve seen of a rose in a while. I don’t need to be fascinated with roses like my mother. Only apprecaite them. And how they are always there to make a garden prettier. Ready to be plucked and taken away to a different set of walls, ready to laugh aloud amongst strangers.

I wonder what it’s like to be this simple. What it’s like to be a rose. Or her.

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