The Strange Ritual

Read the before part: Forgotten Wishes

Travelling has been part and parcel of my work life, flying me into different cities and throwing me into different climates; it’s tough especially when you have to leave behind your family and travel alone. I would be wrong to generalize that I always hated these trips as there was a time where I was looking out for them and grabbing even the half- hearted opportunities that came my way. But now it’s different, I have been married and have an eight year old daughter who I have to look out for, which makes me want to give rest to these age old wings which I had acquired through my innumerable trips to these innumerable places in this majestic world.

Long back, I had started a strange ritual whenever I am on these travel trips which has now completely gotten into me; I think this started nine years ago, when I had to leave behind my wife to travel to Mumbai, though a domestic destination which wouldn’t last for even a day or so, but I missed being with her. May be it was the occasion which I was going to miss or maybe I just wanted to be with her and celebrate our first wedding anniversary together, but work commitments got better of me and I had to leave. So there I was seated in the aircraft which was getting ready for take-off, while I was staring at this picture of my wife in my wallet, running my fingers over her glossy hair, smiling back at her as if she was for real. If the take-off wasn’t that bumpy I would have literally spoken to her, I am pretty sure I would have been serious. Every time we passed through turbulent skies and when the aircraft became all shaky, I would be seen holding the picture close to my heart. It was strange for me because I never attached so much of emotion for someone and also no one ever loved me back the way she did.

The meeting got over as per the schedule; I boarded my flight back to Delhi and trust me, every minute felt longer than usual. I just wanted to see her, so I started rushing out as soon as the flight landed and even to the point that I was cursing the airport authorities for the delay in arranging the walkway. I just couldn’t wait.

As I rushed outside the arrival facility to catch a cab, I failed to notice a humble tap on my shoulder and finally it was her voice which made me turn towards her. I simply hugged her and didn’t let her go for a couple of minutes. We missed each other, we surely did; it was the first time since our marriage that we had stayed apart for close to a day and it also came on the most important occasion of our lives. We took our car, and went to that favourite burger place of hers which I had my friend to book the entire place in advance. Yes you heard it right; it was not a candlelight dinner which everyone expects to go on their anniversaries. It was just a simple but special burger place, because it’s the same place where we first met and fell in love.

Now, 9 years later, I walk in to this restaurant for my daughter, it’s also her favourite place to eat; like mother like daughter. I do get these glimpses of my wife all around this place making me feel close to her, though she isn’t anymore. The time we spent here will always be priceless; I just wish she could have lived a little longer.

This time as I wait in the airport, the minutes start to appear longer than the usual. I just wanted to be with my little sweetheart whose birthday I almost missed. Like the previous occasion, I had my friend to book the entire place for me and my daughter to celebrate; she was going to turn eight.

So as I took my seat in the aircraft, I carried on with my ritual, and today I just missed her more than anything, may be it was the occasion and maybe I just wanted her to be with me however I wasn’t alone; our daughter missed her more than me.

Flight prepared to take-off while I was holding her picture close to my heart and wondering what gifts we should get for our daughter.

The End.


Some Day

I close my eyes for those glittery dreams
to sweep me over into the world which I own,
where I am respected with dignity
and loved with care.

“Those are silly dreams O young boy”,
The world mocks at me for my daylight reveries
But I am indeed the master of my own fate
And I believe that the world will roar with me,
some day.

Learning to reason my thoughts and fighting the fear within,
It would be a long night before I am finally awake
As I love to be lost for the search of perfection
Than be blemished by series of imperfection.

I would live a day longer to clear the mist,
And find a road taken by none but me
As my destiny is unique and I see no takers,
I am convinced that I would live my dream
some day.

That Night

“The melodies of life have become silent and the only thing which made me feel alive was the air gushing in and out through my nostrils. I could hear them clearly, as the voices in my head, like the melodies, have become numb. I couldn’t feel the emotions which people tried to convey while coldness was the only thing which I was able to reciprocate back. This is what my life looks like, too mechanical to understand and too simple to love.”

I closed my diary, the last ritual which I don’t forget to perform before leaving the office, and headed back to catch the last bus to my place. Almost two years had passed since I had joined at work at one of the most reputed corporate houses of the country, but every single day I had to curse myself for carrying on with the job a day more. I felt like a caged parrot who spoke what the company wanted to but his inner voice had become silent a long time ago. The things I loved the most, like writing and photography, had been untouched for sometime now while the thought of starting it the very next day is far too prevalent but to no real avail.

I had to take an auto rickshaw to reach the bus stop on time, but even after ten minutes I couldn’t get hold of one. The time when I almost lost hope, I finally found one but I wasn’t the only one to find it. A female voice went parallel with mine, and we both reached the auto at the same time. She was carrying a number of charts with two or three chart holders, she must be an architect I assumed. As we had to go to the same place, we decided to take the auto together. Till the time we reached our destination she had been on her phone, speaking on and on which I thought were her parents and she was assuring them that she would reach home safely.

We did share a few glances, but I didn’t dare to speak, maybe because she was a lot beautiful and was completely out of my league, maybe she felt the same in an opposite way. By the time we made it to the bus stop, the last bus had left, leaving us in a state of panic and cluelessness about what to do next.

Marooned at a place where the street lights had begun to flicker while the shops were shut close, adding to that a stranger for company, she had already began to panic and called her parents who told her they will be there in another hour. She even made me speak to her parents to assure her safety which I eventually did.

Me: That’s strange I have never spoken to a girl’s parents before I even spoke to her.

She: They were very tense, so had to calm them down. By the way, I am Riya.

Me: I am Ryan, I work at this corporate house on sector 4, and you?

She: I am an architect working for a firm at the same sector as yours.

A deep silence starts to begin as we didn’t know what else to speak about, before I had to interrupt.

Me: Is it possible for you to drop me near Karol Bagh, I think it’s closer to your place.

She: Sure.

Voices in my head (ViH) began to mumble, “Okay now she doesn’t want to start a conversation, or else she would have started something else. Shut up Ryan, you are not going to speak a word. Silence it will be.”

This time her phone started to ring, it had a beautiful ringtone, which I think I had heard a couple of years back. As I am trying to recollect the song, a voice interrupts…

She: Dil Se, the song is from Dil Se.

Me: Exactly, I just couldn’t recollect.

She: So you love music?

Me: Yeah I used to, but now I don’t really have much time.

She: Everyone has time, but we are just too lazy.

Me: Stop judging! You don’t know me at all. ~Even ego has a voice!

She: Sorry, I didn’t mean that.

Me: Sorry, I over reacted, I am just too stressed with this mechanical life I am living, trapped in this life where I cannot do a thing I like. I really want to, but harder I try, that much painful is the failure. ~ (ViH) How am I telling stuff which I didn’t even dare to tell anyone else.

She: I know exactly how you feel. Even I wanted to be an Artist, painting the world I imagined so as to show the real world what they are missing. But I just couldn’t gather the courage to take it forward. I was too scared to lose, but now that I think of it, it’s not that bad to lose than to stay at a place you never really loved.

Me:  It’s like a maze with no way out. I agree with you, I lost that happiness the day I joined here. I wanted to be a writer, a story teller who could add a new dimension and even justify the existing possibilities.

She: Writer, that’s amazing. Can you tell me one?

Me: The creative part in my head is a little rusted; it would need a little dusting. So hop in and help me put a story together.

She: Me, oh no! I can’t. I am really bad at telling stories.

Me: Don’t worry, just try to fill in the gaps, may be you could add those colours of yours to portray these characters in a different way.

She: For me to do that, you need to start!

Me: Okay, okay…let me think.

She: You have all the time in the world, but do tell me a story before my dad arrives.

Me: As you say highness!

She put both her delicate hands near her chin, and began to listen with seriousness. Her eyes made me a tinge nervous, as her expressive eyes seem to have great expectations from my story. A cool breeze began to flow, while she adjusted her light blue scarf over her neck with a little smile on her face. She was nothing short of an angel, which doesn’t mean I was a demon sitting along, but I was just a mere human when compared to her.

Me: There was this girl who I accidentally met while trying to catch an auto, I just couldn’t say no when she asked me whether we could share the auto. I was totally numb to see someone so beautiful, even the words refused to come out.

She began to blush with a little playful smile on her face, but aware that the person speaking was still a stranger.

Me: I just had one wish, when we were left all marooned at the bus stop and we had started conversing, that the night doesn’t end soon and we could continue to speak for a while longer. I wanted to tell her, that her smile was the most beautiful one that I had ever seen and I hoped that she carried that smile forever.

“The smile got a little bigger and I could see her beautiful smile again” – Mind mumbling again.

Before I could say a word more, a car made its way towards us. It was her dad. I just wished I could see that her a little longer, but it was all done. She rushed towards her father and hugged him, while he gave me a silent thank you for looking after his daughter. As we headed back in her car, we kept stealing glances through the rear view mirror but just couldn’t gather the courage to tell the final goodbye.

I got down from their car with a token of gratitude towards her father, and a small smile towards her. While she also kept looking at me in the same way, only wishing that time could have been a little slower.

I just couldn’t sleep that day, I felt something was missing and I had a very little idea how to retrieve it back. I knew I had to see her, I just had to.

Next day near her office gate, someone met her and she was happy to see him, may be even more than that someone who had met her.

Edited by: Sahithi