She took his hand into hers as he lay unconscious on the bed, with blood smeared all over the body. The doctor had declared the deadline for twelve hours. The morning saga had already set its melody on the buzzing street. She silently put his hand, back on his side, and came out of the room. Everything and everyone outside the room looked fresh , determined and enthusiastic to carry on the day’s task gleefully.
The two small street urchins stood aimlessly at the gate and waited for her arrival. As they saw her, they ran towards her and enquired, “What happened? Is he fine?” She did not answer.. Instead she took out some food packets and handed over to them. A streak of smile flashed across their faces. As they walked back ,hand in hand.
I came out of the theater to satiate my budding hunger pangs. Actually I didn’t see the first half of the movie from the beginning as I had reached the theater late, after dropping my cousins at the railway station.The popcorns at the counter awaited some monetary aid from my pocket and as I stood there, popping the corns into my mouth, my eyes fell on him. He looked familiar but I could not remember any account of our meeting. I once again looked at the bespectacled man but my memory jammed the lane with other passing thoughts. I thought it best to enjoy the pops until the sound of the theater alarm pronounced the commencing of the remaining movie…
She opened the door and sat on the sofa with a thud. As the tears gushed out of her already swollen eyes due to the sleeplessness last night, she looked at the foggy image( fogginess due to the tears in her eyes) of her son’s picture that hung on the opposite wall, when he was four years old. She remembered how her traditional upbringing always locked horns with his much- modern outlook of life ever since he stepped into his teenage.
“ Mom! This is my new girlfriend Teena. She has mothered two kids and no longer stays with her husband…O Fissshhh!!!!! These ego-centric men! Why can’t they handle their wives properly???” She looked at her son as he introduced a woman, double his age, to her. So her son was in love again and had no sign of guilt for having co-habited a woman, good enough to be his sister.
She sighed at the thought and never said a word to him. Was there any need to educate a boy who always upheld his decisions ? However she learnt after a few days that the woman finally dumped him due to his excessive tippling, often leading to their violent fights . He wanted her to disown her children and live with him happily but she was no fool. So one evening, in his drunken spree, he hit the woman on her nose and that began the end of their so-called matured and out-of-the-box relationship.
A stay of two days in the police station probably put some sense into the maverick’s mind. He declared, after his release from the cell, that he would devote a part of his time to social work. To celebrate this moment of true awareness, that prevailed on him as a God’s gift, he visited a bar and got excessively drunk before reconciling with his divine mother(as he told her while in the cell) that night. On the way, he lost his control and in order to avoid two street urchins who sat at the pavement, he took a steep turn and dashed against an electric pole.
A telephone ring brought her back to the self . It was the doctor from the hospital. She swooned as the doctor declared her son dead…
I came out of the hall without waiting for the movie to end and looked at the watch. It was 11 pm and the city was in full sparkle even at this hour of the night. I dragged my motorcycle from the parking area and sped away to my hostel. On the way I thought, “Was the movie worth watching? That too at this hour of the night?” But I soon overcame my passing thought as the plan to watch a movie was just to spend a few hours away from room .
I freshened up myself and it was half past one as I hit the bed. Due to the day’s busy schedule, it took no time for sleep to droop my eyelids.
“ Hey when will you reach the venue? Today is your friend’s wedding and you are still warming the bed !”It was my friend Aju over the phone, reminding me to join him on his wedding day. “ Yeah! I will shoot my feet to hit the venue soon. Bye. Take care.” Saying so, I wasted no moment and left for the wedding.
And it was here, at this wedding venue, that my eyes almost twinkled with inexplicable delight, as I found her exchanging glances with me. Those unseen, unfelt strings of a finely tuned musical instrument set my heart to sing the song of love for the first time. My heart bounced with joy and this was obvious to all present there at the wedding, as my unusual clumsiness surprised them. Inevitably I was helping one and all. The reason being,wherever I went, her inquisitive, magical eyes followed me.
“ Wh–at–‘s your nnn–ame?” I asked her hesitatingly with a stammer, finding her standing close to me. She looked at me with a smile and ran away from the sight. My heart again bounced. This time with the feeling of an assurance that she too liked me and that she was all mine.
I never saw her again but after the wedding, I returned with a satisfaction that all was not lost in my life after I lost my parents in a road accident. Now I had someone with whom I could be friendly, fall in love and if destiny permitted, even marry her. A deep conviction sealed my thought that I will see her again and thus my days passed peacefully,awaiting my true love to return.
“ Sir May I help you?” A sweet soul-stirring voice interrupted my shopping desk, where I stood, waiting for the cashier, to check my bill of purchases. The voice had come from the adjacent counter. The sales girl was addressing a young, vibrant man, all dressed in blue ,restlessly tapping the desk as the former was away to another counter. The man looked familiar to me. I tried to recollect our meeting but It was all vague. I again looked at him after paying the bill. Yes. He was very familiar. “Perhaps my junior or senior in some institution…”However all my attempts to prove my familiarity with him fell in vain. I kept looking at him until he left the shop.
That night I dreamt of my would-be girlfriend. In the dream, she proposed to me with a short note as we sat in a restaurant over a cup of coffee. She invited me to her house and suddenly as she got up from the chair, her high-heeled sandal twisted and she stumbled , hitting the waiter. Everyone present there , laughed and she embarrassingly left the place in haste. I called her from behind but she would not listen…at this precious moment, I got up with a jerk and looked around. A crow cawed at my window. I stared at it as if it too had joined the crowd to mock at the embarrassment of the girl. “Why do girls wear such uncomfortable footwear???” I wondered and left the bed.
Months passed and my Post Graduation ceremony neared. I had planned to do research thereafter , staying in the same hostel. A plan of spending time with the family after the ceremony meant the booking of tickets after going through the travails of a long queue at the railway counter.
“Please don’t push me. Stand properly.” A voice from behind alarmed me and I turned back. To my surprise, it was the same man whom I had seen at the shop. I did not say anything and kept exerting my memory buds as to where actually had I met him earlier. After buying the tickets, I sat on a bench and waited for him to clarify my confusion. However my long hours of waiting bore no fruit. I was indeed restless, for my friends often admired my sharp memory. Who was he? I kept pondering until the rattling of a passing train interrupted and alerted me to vacate the place.
Meanwhile my love story could not take off as there were very thin chances to meet my love again. But God indeed had decided to shower a part of His mercy on me for she sat two seats away in my compartment as I boarded the train after a few days. Finally she was with me, all alone and I will not miss any more chance to develop an intimacy with her.
But this time an amazing thing happened. She turned her face away as she saw me near her. I considered it to be her angst and sat near her. She did not look at me and this gesture of hers surprised and shocked me. What had I done? Why was she ignoring me? She covered her head with a scarf and continued looking out of the window.
I felt it best to leave her with her discomfort, anticipating that she might have undergone some problem in life,which for time-being, had made her change her priority from me to something else.
I got up and stood near the door as a station was nearing. The train halted and a voice requested me some space to get down. It was she with her small baggage. I tried to talk but she discouraged my attempt and sat on the opposite bench, covering half of her face with the scarf.
I admired her simplicity and innocence. To me, even her semi-visible face was divine. I realised that now I loved her all the more and wished with a sigh that some day she would be mine.
The train signalled and slowly crawled. I wished to get her last glimpse at the station. As the train paced, she removed her scarf completely and waved it at me. I saw her beautiful face and my happiness knew no bounds…
I got up from the sleep, shuddering at the last part of my dream. The face of my love…yes that very divine beauty… my love…my life…my million dollar beauty …I had seen her somewhere. Her smiling face…yes…it was the face of the man at the theatre…it was the man at the shop…now I remembered it all…
As I narrate this sad story of my love , my body trembles at the very thought…had I married her???