5 September 2013
Aarav is pacing back and forth in his room. He is bit upset. Something is going on in his mind and he is wondering to whom he should consult in order to make a right decision. Should he talk to his mother? Mothers are very sentimental kinds. They have a habit of making mountain out of mole. Besides she will return from her office tour in night. So, should he talk to his dad about this? Well, he is not that much frank with his dad. But he needs to talk to someone before it’s too late. Meanwhile, his dad, Rohan Malhotra enters his room.
Son: “Yes, Dad.”
Dad: “Son, I have come to tell you that we both need to go to your grandparents’ place for dinner tonight. So, do get ready for that.”
Son: “O. K. Dad.”
Dad: “Is everything fine, son?”
Son: “Yes, Dad.”
Dad: “Are you sure? Well, I must remind you that I am your dad.”
Son: “Everything is all fine. But I am facing difficulty in making a decision and I am unable to find an appropriate person for seeking advice.”
Dad: “What happened? Facing problem in new job or having problem with money?”
Son: “There is nothing like that, Dad. You can trust your son in that field.”
Dad: “Then tell me, who is that girl?”
Son: “Girl? um.. No girl.”
Dad: “Oh! Come on. Do I again need to remind you that I am your dad?”
Son: “Well, I don’t know how to break this to you but yes, this is about a girl. I met her a few months back. I knew her before but for past few months, I have been interacting well with her.”
Dad: “So, what is the problem?”
Son: “I, myself, am unable to understand the problem.”
Dad: “Tell me what the scene is, and then only I will be able to help you out.”
Son: “Well, as I said, I am in touch with that girl for past few months now. I feel good whenever I talk to her. She is someone who can read my thoughts. We both check girls out, together. She understands boys well. Sometimes, she speaks my mind.”
Dad: “I am unable to see a problem yet.”
Son: “Problem is I don’t want others to know that I am hanging around with someone like her.”
Dad: “What do you mean by “someone like her”? She is a girl, isn’t she?”
Son: “Yes, dad. She is a girl but she doesn’t act like them. She…”
Dad: “She has a tomboy personality and she does not speak well about girls and she likes speed.”
Son: “How do you know that, dad?”
Dad: “How do I know? I am your father, son. I also knew a girl somewhat like that.”
Son: “A girl? When dad?”
Dad: “It goes long back in year 1983, son. I was in college, then.”
Son: “Was she in your college, too? What was her name? Where is she now?”
Dad: “No, she was not in my college but we were in same school. Though, we got in touch with each other after school, during a reunion of our class. Her name is Sunaina. As far as I know, she is a well known name in writing world, now.”
Son: “Are you talking of Sunaina Seth, dad? “The glamorous writer Sunaina Seth”?”
Dad: “Yes, I am talking about Sunaina Seth.”
Son: “I have heard that she was tomboy in her early days but never thought it was for real. I mean, how can a lady like her be tomboy, even in her dreams?”
Dad: “Trust me, son. Sunaina I knew was very much tomboy. We were good friends.”
Son: “You were good friends? But you never mentioned. I have heard about rest of your friend circle but never about Sunaina. What happened to your friendship?”
Dad: “That is a real long story. I will tell you some other time. As far as your problem is concerned I would give you my advice based on my experience with the hope that you will follow it. Though, choice will be yours only but I hope you would make a good choice”
Son: “Come on, dad.”
Dad: “Son, when you find a girl who can read your thoughts, who can speak your mind and with whom you are comfortable, do not let her walk away from you, no matter what happens. She might not look like girl at this point of time. May be she has her own reason of being that way but she is a girl at the end of the day. May be she is waiting for a person who would accept her the way she is, instead of the way she looks like. May be that is her way of judging right person for herself. Once she finds a right person for herself, she will become what her love wants her to be. It should not matter to you how she looks. The thing that matters is how she feels for you. I hope you getting it”.
Son: “Yes, dad. I am getting and I want to hear your story when we will be on our way for dinner.”
Dad: “We will see that.”
A little later, dad and son leave for their dinner at Rohan’s parents’ place. Rohan tells Aarav about Sunaina, not in complete details though.
Son: “One more thing, dad.”
Son: “Mom knows Sunaina?”
Dad: “Yes, your mom knows that she was there but she never met her.”
Son: “Mom knows about Sunaina being in your life and you had a relation with her?”
Son: “And she never said anything?”
Dad: “No. Now, stop asking about Sunaina. You tell me what you have decided?”
Son: “Though, I already know what to do now but I do not want to take any decision in hurry. So I am giving time to myself.”
Dad: “Good. I hope I will be getting an opportunity to meet that girl soon. By the way, what is her name? Where did you meet her?”
Dad and son keep talking about different things. Aarav has gone to his room and Rohan is sitting in his study. Clock has ticked 11 now. He is waiting for his wife, Paakhi, to return from her tour. Meanwhile, he opens a file with many papers along with a photograph kept neatly inside it. He takes first page out of that file and starts reading it. It is a letter.
“20 August 2013.
I hope you are in good health as I am. How have you been? It’s been really long time since we got in touch with each other. You must be stunned to hear from me after 30 years. Well, I wanted to write but I wasn’t sure when. It’s not that I kept missing you all the time for past 30 years but I won’t deny the fact that I did think of you wondering where you are now, what you would be doing, how your life is moving on, etc though only occasionally like when I used to have a fight with Paakhi or was spending time by myself. But I did think about you. I know you are a well known name in writing world now but to be truthful, I have not read a single creation of yours since we lost contact. I believe you are smart enough to guess the answer. Oh! How crazy were lives back in year 1983!
I must say I was blessed by god when we got in touch with each other in a reunion meeting in January 1983. It all seems weird when I think of our school days when we hardly talked and one day how good friends we became. During that period of May month, I found a close friend who could easily tell what I was feeling, how I was feeling. I thank you for making me speak what I feel. It was you because of whom I met myself. I was living my life peacefully but you showed me how others were using me and I used to consider them friends. I still remember 17 July 1983 when you proposed Aarohi from my side because I dint had guts to tell her that I had a soft corner for her. Later on, she taunted me for not proposing her by my own but it was all fine. I also remember 20 August 1983 when we were talking during lunch break and I hinted you how I feel for you and confessed that I dint had guts and on the very same day you made me say things out loud. That was the day when I kind of proposed you.
Things got beautiful than ever. I don’t remember exactly but you did send me a poem telling how you feel for me. I could not even explain how I was feeling because that was something completely foreign. What happened next, I myself could not understand. I wanted you to be there but not in any relation. It was all complicated. I was afraid of relations and could not accept this fact. You, too, had noticed it and that was why, you asked me to give it a thought on 9 September 1983. And I ran away accepting I was afraid, telling we did share something different but that was not L.O.V.E. feeling. I thought of not being in touch with you but could not stay away from you. I was afraid that you would never move on. And that fear kept me in touch with you. Your understanding and your care kept me hanging. I wanted to be with you because of the way you cared and understood and I dint want anyone to know that I was in touch with you because of your looks. I clearly remember how a tomboy personality you were. You never held me while driving with me. You always wanted to be independent. I hope you must be remembering how I met you at your college when we both had exam on same day, i.e. 15 September 1983. That was something I did without thinking of anyone but for myself. Life became strangely happy.
And then came 3 October 1983 when we went out together and you met few friends of mine. My friends got shocked when they saw us together. According to them, why I was wasting my time with someone who looks like you? That was something complicated though I dint try putting effort and telling them that I love you. I kept listening to them. I started feeling humiliated because of you, because I was in a relation with you, because you dint look good, because my friends dint like you. I wanted to get rid of you without caring about my own feelings.
You must be remembering rest of the story. I planned things and made them appear as if my family got to know about you and they had made me swear to not to talk to you any further. I was feeling sad but my mind did not want to be in touch with you. The other day when I heard you crying on phone, I wanted to tell you that I love you but could not. I never had guts to face the reality. Sometimes I feel, whatever Mohini did to me was because I did wrong with you. In spite of being in love with you I kept denying the reality.
I realized how valuable you were as a friend. I realised how valuable you could be as a wife, as a life partner when I went through whatever Mohini did to me. You could say she did exactly same what I did to you in year 1984. She used to talk to me when no one else used to be free. She used me completely and I, being a fool, let her did that. It dint take long to realise that I had lost the most precious pearl of my life. I was still waiting for you to return when I came to know that you had someone special in your life. Besides, your family loved him too.
You told me one day that Sameer never considered me as a bad person but he hates me for whatever I did to you. That day I realise, he is the best partner for someone like you. I would remind you that you owe me a big time. If I would not have left, you would not have met him. Today I saw an article in newspaper, realised your daughter is set to be a writer in progress, same as you did when I decided not to be in touch with you. Well, what else is expected from parents like you and Sameer? You guys are made for each other.
Oh! I forgot to tell you about my family. I am living up my life as happily and peacefully as I can, with Paakhi and my son Aarav. Aarav has joined his new job recently and set to marry a girl of our choice (I know he is bit strange! Who marries according to their parents’ wish in today’s time?).
It won’t be wrong if you will ask why I am writing to you all this (even though you knew I would write, eventually). I had told you many times, Paakhi is a lot like you. May be that was the thing made me fall for her even when I knew you would never return but still, was living in this hope that you might. Today, I know Paakhi is deeply madly in love with me. Even I do love her exactly the way she does but now I have reached an age where there is no place of what others will think and how will they judge me. It seems it is high time now when I should exactly tell you the way I had felt and the way I have been feeling for past 30 years.
Paakhi is a lot like you but she isn’t you. We are living as happily as we could but I know she has this insecurity that I still think of you. To be precise, she keeps mentioning you every now and then and I cannot help wondering about you. I cannot compare both of you. At one point of time, Paakhi is exactly what you were and on other point, she is exactly opposite to you. She holds me exactly the way you did once and opposite to you, her career comes before than family. Still, she loves me more than anyone else in this world.
You used to say always, you wanted to be with me somehow, anyhow and I never replied. You know why? I never replied, not because I dint love you, but because I was afraid of what others would think of me. Today, I am not afraid of anyone. That is why, I am taking time out for writing this letter and telling you that I loved you very much and realised my love for you when you were already gone. I feel sorry for myself. My life could have been happier but it seems I was destined for this only. That is why I left.
One last time, I wanted to tell you that I am real sorry for everything but I truly loved you.
Rohan finishes reading letter and glances upon photograph kept in that file. It was a group photograph of his school days, clicked on the day when Rohan’s classmates gave farewell to their seniors. Three guys and four girls were smiling in front of the camera. One of four girls was completely tomboy with short hair, wearing a tee-shirt and jeans while others were wearing suits and skirt. He smiles and has last look of photograph. He puts photograph back in file and keeps that file safely in his cupboard. Its half past 12 now. He picks up his phone and dials a number. Phone rings on other side.
“How long, dear?”
“Just few more minutes, honey.”
“I am waiting.”
“I will be right there, love.”
Within few minutes, door bell rings. Rohan opens the door with a smiling face. Paakhi strolls inside and gives a hug to Rohan. Paakhi is smiling, too. Together they move to their bedroom and get ready to sleep. Rohan is waiting for Paakhi to join him. A little later, Paakhi comes.
Rohan: “I hope you had a successful tour.”
Paakhi: “Yes, it was, honey. You tell how things were going on in my absence?”
Rohan: “Everything is fine as always.”
Paakhi: “So, is there anything you wish to tell?”
Rohan: “Nothing important though, I just wanted to tell you…”
Paakhi: “Tell me what, honey?”
Rohan: “I just wanted to say, I love you, love.”
Paakhi: “Oh my honey! I love you too my love.”