“Hello” I said on the phone. My father was on the other side of the line. I was not sure if to address him as papa, which I used to call him long before. It’s not I don’t like to acknowledge him as my father but it’s the hesitant I feel in his tone- the voice of dutiful father but not lovable.
“How are things going?” he asked.
“Fine, how are you?” I asked.
“Good” there was a long pause. I did not see anything else to speak. I remember my father when my mother was alive. He used to lift my mother up in the air who held me to her tightly. I was amazed at my father’s strength. My mother’s laugh that brightened up his face. The blue sky stretching to infinity, the rose garden of the house, the vintage car – my father’s favorite, blurred my eyes. The endless questions I asked him and his thoughtful answers to them now felt contradict to the awkwardness in our conversation.
“If you have any problems call me. Need anything tell Uday uncle. Visit our house sometime” he continued.
I hung up the phone after a little forced words from both sides. My father is a good person. I knew. But not able to be with him when we needed each other the most was also a reason I felt distant from him.
Maa I wish you were here, with me. I said trying to focus on something.
I woke up in the middle of a grass land or that’s how it looked. May be I can say more in a heavenly way. The grass that were a feet above the ground were fresh and wild in their own way. The uniform dark green colour of them resembled the endless mat of green on the earth’s surface that stretched till my eyes could see in that plane land. I got up from where I was sleeping, shocked to feel it was no longer a dream but reality. I wasn’t afraid of the sudden miracle but curious to know what happened.
I walked in the direction of sun rise, my instinct controlled by the quietness of the place. Dew drops that hung from the edges of the grass, small yellow flowers, the cool and fresh air made a whistling sound, tickling my ears. I was strangely feeling at home, at ease and a feel of familiarity building up inside me.
As I walked I realised the land wasn’t even. It had ups and downs and it was not all a grass land.as I climbed down a small hill, the land scape looked still beautiful. There was a cobble stone home. It looked ancient, strong. I had expected myself to freak out at the sight of single old house-the ones which are usually haunted. But I did not. Instead I walked fast to reach it. My heart pulled me to it.
I walked past the oak trees. Oak trees? I had never seen an oak tree in southern India. I had a bonsai of oak tree in high school and I recognised this one is the same but very big in size.
Which place is it? I speeded up my steps to the house, to see why it felt familiar.
I just focused on the writings in front of the gate. It was not visibly near ,but then the air carried a sweet female voice. “Megha, my child …”
I was awestruck. But least cared to think anything.
“Maa,” I said all my focus on her. She looked exactly same as she did when i saw her last time. Her long hair braided behind. She smiled. I went near where she stood. At the edge of a cliff. I had not realised that the place was at a higher elevation from the sea level. The crashing sound of waves from below became clearer now.
“Maa…”, I went to hold her hands but I touched the air. My hands passing through the illusion created in there. the image of her vanished still smiling at me. “Maa, stay.” I cried. But she was gone.
My curiosity to go into the house vanished, I sat there in despair, longing for my dead mother. The years of yearning and pain, hitting all at ones.
An old, tall man with beard came out of nowhere. I had not seen him before.
“Get up child” he said with the look of concern in his eyes.
“Why am I here?” I asked
“You are here because you are belonged here” I was already beginning to think it was a dream, a sad dream. But I could not even miss out how real it felt. It felt very true. My mother’s voice, so perfect like I remembered, the sun above, the touch of the grass under my feet, the dampness in the air, the house which I could clearly see to be a real one.
“You are here because I wanted you to see who you are.”
“Who am I?”
“You are one of us”
I was in no mind to listen to this old man. I recalled my mother’s voice. So near and real I felt it was almost true. I decided not continue the conversation and hoped this meaningless dream would end soon.
“Wait child” the man called out but the entire dream in colours blacked out into a dreamless hole.
When I got up the next morning I was on my bed, in the hostel room of the college campus. The clock said its 5.20 in the morning. I moved the curtains to see the rain that seemed to have continued since the night before. I remembered the dream, my mother’s voice, how desperately I wanted her to stay even if it’s in dream, a delusion.
The memory of my mother in my dreams was the only thing on my mind that day. It was the first time I saw her so closely in my dreams. It was so clear that I could even see the small mole on her chin, the love in her eyes.
I thought of not attending the class but sitting alone in the hostel remembering the dream again and again was not a good option. I got ready mechanically to the class.
Sahana had noticed my gloomy face, but she did not ask anything and left me on my own.
The afternoon lab on surveying seemed impossible with the rain pouring down. Even if the rain stopped it would be a mess to carry on survey on a wet ground. Still the lecturer had asked us to wait for some time. Sahana was in the other lab as her name started with the 19th alphabet and the class was divided into two batches in alphabetical orders.
I decided to take a walk to the washroom not wanting sit seeing outside the window. The empty corridor of the department looked ghostly silent except for the sound of rain and sound of working turbine from mechanical lab. I walked staring down at the tiles laid path.
“Megha stop!.” Advaith’s voice commanded and I obeyed. When I looked up I knew I was about to get bumped into the half opened solid roller shutters if I moved one more inch.
I turned back, he was surprisingly at a longer distance, at the other end of the corridor. It was impossible to hear anything from that, 20 meters in midst of the the sound of the rain and the noise of working machines of mechanical lab unless of course someone shouted.
I panicked. This time I was very sure I heard him. It was not my mind making up anything. It was really him speaking to me, in my ears or in my mind. I knew he was my Edward Cullen but I wasn’t certainly i was his Bella Swan.
He came to me expressionless. It was difficult to read his face. “Why do keep making me worry about you?” he asked little anger in his tone. “Can’t you just look and walk properly? Or is it in your mind that I am always there around protecting you?”
I glanced at him longer than I knew. “Did I ask you to be around me?” my voice cold and even. “Did I ask you to protect me? Then why do you care if I fall or get hurt? How does it even matter to you?”
With a flash of wrath in his beautiful face, he pulled my hands, and our body collided. His warmth of touch seizing the chilled cold of the rainy day.
He looked into my eyes, “you want to know why I care?” he asked and suddenly his lips were on mine. The soft touch of his lips setting up a fireworks in me. I was shocked at first but I found myself responding as if I had been waiting for it all these days. My lips parted to give him a way to expose me further. His movements were fierceful, his grip on me tighter and his lips sweet against mine.
I never imagined I would have my first kiss like this- like from a person who did not yet confessed anything, like on the corridor of our college, sudden and unexpected.
“Don’t ever ask why the damn it matters to me” he said in between his breaths out of evenness due to the long kiss. “Because it does” he said.
I was so surprised that I did not know how to react. Did he really mean to kiss or was his ego was hurt. I did not know. I could just stare without even remembering to blink my eyes.
He smiled at me, his anger melting away. He looked sad now.
“I am sorry, I was worried” he said hugging me. This time gentle.
I love you Advaith. I thought. I felt his smile and his hands tightened around mine.