I forced myself to stop thinking about the kiss we shared on a rainy day, on the department corridor and concentrate on the mini project. I had to figure out what are the water samples we are going to test. I had a rough idea of the sources of collections. One sample from the college mess, one from the city municipality supply, from the wells of nearby villages, the town is near to the Western Ghats. It’s a place of origin of many streams and perennial rivers. I decided to sample out the small streams that are likely to be polluted due to the industrial discharges. I quickly wrote down 10 sources of samples before my mind crawl to the memory of my first kiss, how my body reacted to it, how I kissed back, and how Advaith had hugged me caringly.
“Why are you blushing from that time?” Sahana asked with a look of surprise.
“Am I?” I asked though I knew I blush unknowingly even while thinking of Advaith. But I did not realise Sahana was back to room from mini project discussion with her team mate who was next door.
“Is that about Advaith?”
“Mmm…” I was deciding what to say and how much to say when her team mate came to our room calling Sahana to help her with something.
That was closest escape. I had never lied to my bestie. I never want to. She is like a family. From my high school days to today she remained my good friend, in fact only true friend. It must be difficult to be my friend with all my obsession with the fictional characters, yet she had withstood it.
I no longer wanting to blush continuously pulled my blanket on head, hoping to dream about Advaith.
At first it was dark. Someone knocked the door. Not my hostel room door but a door of my mind.
“Can you let me in” I heard a distant voice. Voice I recognised somewhere before but couldn’t remember. I opened the door. I did not see anything but I knew I opened the door and there stood the old man. I had seen him once in my dreams before.
He smiled genuinely on seeing me. We stood in the same place where I had seen my mother in dream before. The cobble house stood at a distance, the cliff and the ocean below, the sound of the waves against the rocks. The familiarity hit me.
Can dreams repeat I asked myself confused if my conscious mind is still working during sleeping. I got no answer in reply. I started wondering if that was a dream after all. Because the feeling was strange.
“Who are you?” I asked the man turning to face him from my momentary distraction. But he was gone. Gone just like that. Vanished! I was about to wonder when a man and a woman came out of the gate. Man was tall and the woman, a little shorter, her head reaching the man’s chest. I was so bewildered that I looked at them without even blinking my eyes.
The couple looked happy, content. They man was saying something and the woman smiled at that shyly. He was wearing what seemed like a blue sherwani and the other was in yellow saree. They walked past me to the edge of the cliff as if I were just air.
The lovely couple held hands and smiled at each other before jumping down. I held my mouth in horror. I had not ever thought I would witness someone dying so happily. The scream was at throat when suddenly the entire scene around me changed.
I was standing somewhere else now. People walked around me as if I was magically invisible. It looked like a celebration. I walked through the people and the great deal of old fashioned furniture. Its only when I neared the edge I realised I was standing on an island. The green water around was like a glass. I saw the white sand below it and the small colourful fishes in them.
“There is a possibility” for one second I had driven in the beauty of ocean, I forgot to notice there were others near me.
They looked like people from the old movies. Like the paintings of saahukars and shaanbhogs.
“A war loss” one of them said looking straight into the sea.
“It does” a woman said. She wore a saree and was nearly 6 feet tall. “It’s time, we send the unknowns to the different parts of the earth”
While I read an interesting story, I always thought I was a part of it and was carried the through it. But being a part of the story that unfolded in dreams seemed very much real. So real that I was physically feeling the effect. The wind on my skin, the music in the background and fragrance in the air.
I walked on the edge where the sea touched the ground not wanting to listen something I didn’t understand. After a minutes of walk in the island, I found the couple from earlier. They were alive and are discussing something with two other people.
they had not died after a several hundred feet jump. I looked closely at the man. He had hair till neck and was flying in air. he was beautiful. He held the hands of woman wearing yellow saree. She had a long black hair braided, and in bun. They were holding hands. A happy smile crossed my face.
I was beginning to wonder how could they survive such a jump when a boy came there running, probably 9-10 years old,crying.
“She hurts me” the little boy told pointing at a little girl around his age. The girl came walking as if she had done the fine job of hurting the boy.
The boy showed his bleeding elbow to his mother. there was a long cut on it. The boy’s mother excused herself from the small gathering and turned to look at the girl and said in a low angry voice “Rukmini, you never stop bullying your brother, do you?”
The name of the girl pinched my senses, Rukmini… I looked at the girl, round face, big mischievous eyes, and a birth mark on the left side of forehead…
I very well remembered the same mark on my grandmother’s forehead.
“Granny….” I screamed. The images around me blurred. I felt I have fainted but I got up from my bed gasping. I knew it was not just a dream. I knew I had just come of the past. A past where my granny was still a child.
I looked around. Sahana was sleeping unaware of my mysterious dream. The clock said its 5 in the morning. I drank water and opened my laptop and typed the word ‘reincarnation’.
“You look upset” Sahana said in class. I did not speak a single word to anyone since I got up.
I shook my head playing with the pen in my hand.
“Yesterday you were blushing the whole day, today you look like this. You are acting weird” she said staring at the pen I held.
“Yes Megha. What is the reason?” Advaith, asked sitting next to me on the bench.
Sahana groaned at that. “The reason must be you” she said harshly to Advaith.
He frowned. “What did I do?” he asked sahana.
“I am sure I see your interference in many things these days. By the way why don’t you hang out with your fiancée” Sahana’s said, her voice taunting.
“It’s not him saha” I said surprised to see my friend defensive.
“Only you can say that” saying that she got up to leave.
It’s true I was not in my usual frame of mind. But it is not because of Advaith. He had no idea what I was going through.
“I am sorry, she was protective, because she thought…” I tried to say.
“It’s ok I can understand. She is your best friend. And it is her job to be protective.” He said as if to comfort me.
“It’s nothing like that. We are friends from long time. I see her as family.” I told thinking about my dead mother and a father who fended me.
He nodded. I knew he was hurt. I hated to see him like that but I had to say something even if saying it hurts more.
“I want to say something” I said.
“Please go on” he said brushing his hair back- a move I remembered from my dream.
“Yesterday whatever happened,” I paused a little. “It happened unknowingly. I had known you are engaged officially. We should have avoided it yesterday but…” I stopped not knowing how to continue further.
“But you couldn’t?” he asked his eyes full of curiosity.
I did not give any reply or I thought I did not show any physical movement.
He gave a sly smile “neither could I” he finished.
I could not tell if that meant the kiss we shared was just as meaningless as how easy I looked to him or it was a result of us not thinking in the way the things are or it simply a play game of the prince.
I felt like I was used. Used by someone I stupidly thought I knew. I was totally confused about my dream and the reality, I wished to go back to the dream.
I came alone to the room, sahana was not there. But the bag was on her table. Memories of sahana and me from high school lingered. My life was simple. Very simple. My daily life had very few things involved- hostel, college, books and Sahana. It now seemed complicated in some way. I went to fresh up and sat on the bed hoping to escape in to the world of fantasy.
“Just kissing? How quickly you dismiss our love?” Jace says in anger to clary. I was reading the mortal instruments and this particular line caught my attention. I thought I sank in the story but the above lines brought me back to thinking my own love story.
Advaith had not dismissed our love, I better say my love. He never said that. He just said he could not either avoid that moment. He was not bad after all. And I would still love him even if he never could love me.
The evening passed into night, sahana spoke to me casually. She did not mention anything from today’s conversation with Advaith, I also let it slide relieved that she is okay.
I knew I should not be but I was honestly excited about the next day. Advaith and I had agreed to go for sample collection on this Sunday. We were to leave the campus by nine in the morning. I slept telling my mind not to act foolish and cross the borders of ‘just friends’.