He was waiting for her. At the beach. Preparing to propose her.
She was taking longer than she was supposed to. He had called her a while back and she told she would be there in 10 minutes. 10 minutes had passed and yet there was no sign of her. He thought of the million times he had been late to meet her and of the few times she was late. But none of them were like this. None of those minutes were as long as a second today.
He practised the exact words he was going to tell her. Chanting them over and over in his mind. He looked back to see if she had come at the entrance of the beach. No. To relieve himself of the tension, he took a stroll through the beach. It was the first time he was doing it alone.
He saw the clouds darkening but decided that it was not going to rain anytime soon. The Sun was still casting its warmth through the clouds. And the sea was calm, preparing the bed for the Sun, where he would come after a short while. And like today, each day the sea looked different. Each wave looked different. He had always wondered why the beach was their favorite hangout.
And today, walking in solitude he thought he had found the reason. It was the unpredictability of the waves that made him love the sea. If the sea water was still, then no one would have come to the beach. They would not have come if the waves were all alike. Each wave brought with it a certain amount of unpredictability. Some waves were too small and went unnoticed. Some were very big that they kind of stirred up the people gathered near the shore with excitement and the fear of getting wet. Some waves promised to be big enough, but collapsed right before coming to the shore .And some waves brought things with them. It was a wave who gave the magic lamp to the Fisherman in the Fairy Tales. And now the lamp was replaced by things like sandals, bottles and trash. This unpredictability was the reason why he loved the beach.
He looked at his watch again. It had been 20 minutes that he was waiting for her. He turned to look at the entrance again. She was nowhere there. Just as he was turning back to the sea he saw a board giving information about the signs in the sea regarding Tsunamis. Then he thought of the thousands of lives the unpredictable sea had taken in the form of tsunamis. The monstrously mighty waves. That was when the word constrained came to his mind. Constrained Unpredictability .The waters were to be constrained. The waves when constrained to a small size brought joy and excitement. But the very same when united to become a monster, brought sorrow and misery. Just as he found a correlation to this theory of constrained unpredictability and life-he heard a sound behind him “Hey, sorry for being late”.
He knew that sound. It was her. Suddenly he felt that she could have come a bit later. He turned around. And right then he saw the most beautiful face he had ever seen in his life. Her face was as charming as ever but it looked very different today. Or the feelings inside him told that it looked very different. He looked at her as if he had seen her never before but he knew the exact number and position of the moles on her face.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” she asked.
“Oh, nothing.” Damn. I’m losing it already. He thought.
“So, what plans have we got for today? I don’t want to stick around here so long. I have to be back before 9.”
Her hair was swirling around in the wind. It was playing along with the breeze. Like the waves, it moved in a different direction with each blow of the wind. Constrained Unpredictability. He could see the kites- being flied near the beach- and her hair moving as if they both were part of the same music notes.
“Sure. You can be back before 9. Now, why don’t we take a walk?”
“I think it is gonna rain. It looks like that.”
“Nah. Not for a while, anyways.”
“OK. So what plans today? “
“Aah, nothing planned. I heard that the movie which released yesterday is good.”
“No,please. It’s an action movie. I don’t like them.”
As they walked along the shore line though he was talking to her, he was more bothered about another thing. He was bringing about himself to ask her the question he wanted to ask her for the past couple of months.
But he wasn’t sure of her reply. Unpredictability. A woman’s mind was not constrained. It could react to a proposal from a man in a million of ways. Unconstrained unpredictability brought sorrows like Tsunamis.
Each day of a person’s life was full of unpredictabilities. It was this that made life beautiful. What would be life if you knew what was supposed to happen today when you woke up? Whom were you gonna meet? What would be life if you knew what your lover was going to say when you propose to her? Sure, you would want to hear a YES, but if you knew that reply beforehand then what was the whole meaning of it? It is the unknown future that keeps us going. Hopes .Happiness and miseries both have to come unspoken. Each day in life was like a wave in the sea. Sometimes we have happy days, like a clear sea while some others are hectic days, gobbled up with giant waves of problems. But it is those moments of hardship that we went through which stays in our mind- like the huge waves we see at the beach. But we all have our own constraints on the size of a wave in the sea as well as in our lives. When it goes off the limit, it is catastrophe.
He felt that life itself was mirrored in the unpredictable waves. Some people went unnoticed like the small waves. Like the waves which collapsed as they neared the shores some people fell when they were at the edge of success. He decided that he wouldn’t want to be such a wave in his life. He also didn’t want the friendship he had with her to collapse at his proposal for love. His wave could grow stronger or it could just fall off right there.
“Hey, are you even listening?”
That woke him up from his thoughts. She had caught him and now demanded his attention.
“Yeah. I just …em, I was just thinking about..which movie to go?”
“It didn’t seem like that. OK. Whatever. So I just asked you, how is it going… your fifth sem. hoping to pass any this sem?”
“What do you mean ‘any’”? I may not be a bookworm like you. But I managed to pass in 4 out of 6.”
“Yeah, great achievement.”
He hated her just at moments like these. Where she wanted to show the gap between their academic performances. She usually flew over the top and he was down below. Among Profs she was indeed the big wave whom everyone noticed. And he was the small one. He doubted if any of the Profs even knew him. Which he didn’t mind at all.
OK. Going out of bounds. Focus on the proposal thing.
“So, why don’t we go for that romance movie? I heard its good.”
“I heard it su*ks. My friend watched it. She liked it actually and told me the story. It’s a crap ‘same old’ story. It has this proposal scene where the hero proposes a girl after going out with her for more than a year and she was surprised at it and going to ecstasy and all. I mean, that’s just dumb.”
He had not expected that. The movie’s proposal scene was exactly what had made him pull the subject to that. But things had gone unpredictable. And so did the world around him. The waves were now rocking against the beach. The clouds had formed far above him and her. The thunder made her face look gorgeous than ever. The wind was now trying to pull her hair off. The forces of nature had gone unpredictable without constraints. And his mind had too.
It came out of nowhere.”I love you.”
And then it rained.
It was still raining. From the window he could see the trees complaining to each other for being in the rain for 3 days continuously. But it was the rain that had kept him going for the last 3 days. He was at the hospital room looking at his wife, waiting for her to open her eyes.
She had been unconscious for the past three days. Stroke. And at the age 82, it was a very critical one. Doctors doubted a complete recovery. She was lying on the bed and he, waiting for her to wake up. He looked at her and thought that even at such an old age she still was the most beautiful person in the world. Over the years she had changed very much. But still she was as beautiful as on the first day he had met her. He still couldn’t believe that they had been together for over half a century. They had their own World Wars and Cold Wars to deal with. But they still loved each other as if they had another lifetime beyond them. He thought about their first meeting and the day he proposed her. It all looked like yesterday.
And that was the moment when the word Constrained Unpredictability came back to him. Over the years he had recalled it many a times. But his life had never gifted him enough time to elaborate on that theory which he had found just before proposing to his wife.
He smiled as he recollected the basic statements of his theory as if it was some statement in his mathematics textbook. He liked its bookish tinge. Life was full of constrained, and sometimes unconstrained, unpredictabilities. Constrained unpredictabilities was the ingredient that made life beautiful. And thus life itself could be portrayed by constrained unpredictabilities. He couldn’t but laugh at the form his theory looked like when put into three simple sentences.
He looked over at the rain behind the window. The rain was also unpredictable. It had ruined his moment of proposal as it rained out of nowhere, the moment he proposed to her. It came from nowhere, just like his words. He wasn’t even sure whether she had heard him. He wished she hadn’t for it had already turned out to be a flop.But it actually made a happier ending than the one he had dreamed of. As it rained they had immediately run together to a small shed and since the place was so small that it had hardly any room for the two of them, they were alone there. And while they were inside the curtain provide by the rain, separated from the eyes of the world, she had kissed him on his lips and they stood like statues except for their lips till the rain had cleared and the curtain was drawn off. And after that she told a rather unnecessary ‘Yes, I love you too’.
The rain was getting stronger now. The rain was also like the waves. When unconstrained it brought havoc. But otherwise it brought life to an otherwise dry earth. And he thought about his life whose life was her. She made his life lively. He had seen his life in the waves at the time of his proposal. And now he could see her’s in the rains.
Initially she was a drizzle. Quite, taciturn and bookish. He had no idea how they had started going out together. But when he had spent enough time with her she was charming and full of life. Like a tender rain. And then he could see the strong woman she was inside after their marriage. They had difficult times. They had faced near poverty. But her will, the same power with which the trees are thrown off their roots by the heavy rains, had made him made stand firm on his legs.
He looked out as the rains were now fighting with the distant trees. It was a fight the trees would find hard to survive. The rain was getting stronger and stronger. Just then, he heard a sound behind him.
She was gasping for breath. And her body was jerking on the bed. He reached for the alarm immediately. And waited for an era for the doctors to come for aid, during which he just held on to her and stop her from jerking. Through the window he could see the rains getting violent.
The hospital staff came seconds after the alarm started ringing. They immediately went to work with the doctors yelling at the nurses and all of them working strenuously for reviving her. Someone on the staff politely asked him to leave the room.
He looked over the mob of doctors. He couldn’t see her properly. But he could see her face and her fight for her life was portrayed on her unconscious face. He went out and closed the door behind him.
He strolled up and down in the corridor. He very much wanted to know what was going on inside. But could not. He went near the window at the end of the corridor and took out a cigarette. The rain was getting more violent and he could hear the chattering sound and for the first time in his life, it annoyed him. He took another stroll and waited in front of the door to where his wife was. He wanted to go in but decided against it. When someone told him to put away the cigarette he went back to the window.
He could not say what had happened in the past few moments. But the rain had stopped altogether. He could see the streets all drenched and silent. Dead calm. That was what he saw out in the streets.
He saw a nurse getting out of the room and looking over at him. But he already knew what she had to tell.