“I always felt that it was me who had to apologise first. The spontaneous anger, the emotional fallout and finally the apology, they all seemed to happen at quick pace for me. I didn’t wait a lifetime to apologise, I felt what could be corrected soon needs to be addressed first. So time and again I had a fallout with someone, I was the one to approach for a patch up. It did feel annoying after a point of time, especially when the mistake pointed to the other side. But a habit so organically inculcated wasn’t easy to forego, even if it meant to be taken for granted by many.
The first time I realised this was when Priya and I parted ways. It was her decision which I had to honour, but my heart wasn’t someone who forgot easily. I tried to patch things up, over and over again but it was of no avail. I kept calling, leaving messages, sending emails and what not, but there was no sign of reconciliation. The habit became the culprit for the progressional loss of my self-respect, which I realised it only then. It didn’t stop with that as I went through a series of falls, one deeper than the other, before I finally made a tryst with myself of never loosening myself to any other, whatsoever. There is a wise saying that goes like this that you only realise the value when you finally lose it. This time I cherished and held that self-respect tight, but I didn’t know then that it was too tight for anyone to enter, until that night with Tara.
It was the third month of our marriage when we had our first big fight. It started on some petty issue which I can’t remember now but it escalated to bigger and important things in our lives, and a fight was bound to happen. That night we slept, without our usual conversation, in sheer silence and before she woke up I left for my office. That’s how I trained myself to be, to move out before I succumbed to my habit. It was around noon when I got her message. I knew that she had an off that day and would be going to meet her parents who lived an hour away. So I basically thought that some away time would cool her off and we would hopefully move on from the issue. An apology was the last thing I expected. But her message took me by surprise as she came forward apologised, that too for a mistake I committed. I had pulled out her ex-boyfriend’s name during the fight which I had promised I would never use. It was disappointing from my side, knowing very well that the position he held for Tara and the point that he was no more. But still she came forward, she came for me.
I reread her message, this time a little loudly in my mind, “I am really sorry for yesterday, if it’s possible please make it early for dinner. I would be cooking something special for you :)”. It broke something deep in me as my eyes glittered with tears for having someone with whom I could finally be myself. She was the one for me, she remains to be the one.”
“She appeared from behind, slowly measuring her steps before she took them. The crowd stood agitated in front of her house while she stood before them, head down. Between her and the crowd stood her father and Ram. The noise grew louder with every dialogue her father and the crowd spoke, ultimately it was her father who had the last say. The villagers returned back to their humble huts but a decision was still not taken. Her father had to approve of Ram which was in no case easy. He belonged to a different region, a different caste, and most importantly even his parents weren’t in agreement with him in this. This made the matters more complicated but Sita was determined. She spoke to her father animatedly, spoke for the man she loved at par with her father. It wasn’t something easily digestible for the village headman, her father, but he heard her patiently while Ram stood at one corner. He glanced at him, but both men shared no words. It was Sita who did most of the talking, only to be stopped by her father to bring Ram in front. Sita looked at Ram with tense eyes, of not knowing what was to unfold now, whether her father would approve the match. It was their decision, together, to marry only if both their families agreed. Now there were thoughts in Sita’s mind questioning that decision, especially after what just happened a little while ago.
The sight of charging villagers with lathi in their hand, standing in unison with their Thakur Saab wasn’t a pleasant sight for both of them. Ram had tried initially to convince Sita’s father but Thakur was in no mood to listen. He shouted at Sita at peak of his voice while the crowd jingoistically held their lathis high to make a strike. Thakur was able to understand the mood of the mob better as one among the mob yelled out, “Thakur Saab, give us a chance we will beat this scoundrel to death.” While yet another screamed out, time and again, “Kill him!!!”. Thakur Saab with a loud and clear voice yelled at the mob to disperse. “It’s up to me to decide. You all go back home, right now.” They tried to resist his words initially but no one dared to go against Thakur. They silently turned back and walked towards their huts.
Finally Ram spoke again, unrestrained as he usually does, it sounded intimidating to even Sita. But Thakur wasn’t the one to be cowed down by Ram’s rhetoric. The discussion turned into a debate with no man relinquishing their ground, they toed each other on every issue. After almost half hour, the men sat down on their respective chairs. This time the talk went more subtle, and humble. It was Thakur who relented first, Ram only realised it late that it was his turn to mellow. By that time Thakur had asked for two large glasses of lassi for one another. They slowly gulped it down along with their over expressive ego. It was dusk when Thakur finally agreed about Ram; Sita was sitting along with her father, throughout the conversation, facing Ram. She hadn’t moved an inch, it was her future which was at stake. Now their dream of being together was finally coming through, Sita let out a big smile as her father ended his sentence with a ‘Yes’.
Sita kept smiling as her eyes remained transfixed at Ram while Ram had his eyes always on Sita, especially when he thought he was faltering in the conversation. Her eyebrows rose in fear every time she felt Ram crossed the line, and Ram toned down the conversation as he saw that expression on her. Those little unsaid things which the other understood by a mere expression became the defining factor of their relationship over the years. They weren’t the vocal kind who held long conversations with the other in the name of romance, it wasn’t their thing. They belonged to a different category all together, the ones who were willing to just sit idly in front of each other, without even speaking a word, and still not get bored. That special was their bond, something which words could never define, something which one could feel but fail time and again to describe. Today would have been their thirtieth wedding anniversary but things never pan out the way they should.
Ram settled down on his usual seat near Sita’s favourite place, the one facing Mount Shalimar. He reminisced those moments leading to their marriage as a tear rolled down his cheek. Five years is a long time, but his Sita Mahalaxmi was not someone he could forget so easily. Ram never tried to either; he lived with those memories, some brought about a smile and some like today, brought out an odd tear. Isha, his only daughter, walked towards him, “Shall we leave, Dad?”. He didn’t reply. She asked again,”Dad?”.
“Sorry!” He brought out his handkerchief and wiped the silent tear gently. Then responded with a low voice, “You go ahead, I will join you for dinner.” Isha looked at her father for a brief moment, then asked Anwar Chacha to make sure that he doesn’t stay for long. And then she left while Ram Shankar sat back on the bench, losing himself all over again in the memories he had created with Sita. But sadly he was all alone to relive them over and over again.”
“Sita!” He yelled at top of his voice. The voice resonated with doubled intensity from the mountain top upon which he stood. He screamed out her name again but the answer remained the same as before. He walked back dejected, like always. It felt more like a routine that he couldn’t escape. Every morning he would walk towards the narrow point and seat himself on the only bench present at the place. Most days, we would find him staring into the clouds, as if he is looking for answers from above. But the last month seemed a little rough on him than before. He wasn’t his normal calm self. There were many instances like today where he ran towards the point, only to stop himself by a moment while letting out her name in sheer despair. Helplessness seems to define him, and the pain instead of reducing with time, only grew.
The fifty five year old Ram Shankar Bisht had lost his Sita Mahalakshmi in an avalanche at that very spot, five years ago. Their love affair was nothing short of a folk tale. Both belonged to different regions, and shared no common language in between. Sita had met Ram when she had come over as a tourist to Kullu. It was Ram who had taught her the basics of Skiing. He was helping his father at his skiing business as he filled in the role of an instructor due to absence of the other. It was his first day at work, and Sita was the first person he attended to. And like it always happens, he fumbled while fixing the gear on her leg. He tried again but it didn’t work. He held out a nervous smile towards Sita, who smiled back with assurance that he could try again. This time it worked and she was all set for her first lesson. It was at this instance that Ram noticed Sita for the very first time. She had those big round eyes with neatly lined mascara around them. Her curly long hair was tied behind with perfection while the smile, the most beautiful one Ram ever saw apart from his daughters, flashed nervously at him. He held her hand and looked straight into her eyes and whispered, “Sita, it’s going to be all okay.” And she believed in him, straight away. It was strange though but his eyes seemed trustable to Sita unlike any stranger she had met before. It all began at that very moment, and they never looked back after that. The relationship, the opposition and finally their marriage; they saw through all by standing their ground, hand in hand with the other, without a word, without a thought of ever to let go. But fate, as we know it, is unpredictable. Not all things are in our hands; some we control, some control us.
Ram Shankar died a little, every day since that accident, but his twin daughters were the ones who kept him alive to see the light of another day. It was Isha, the elder one, who introduced me to Ramji. I was looking for a job as a guide, and Isha was my brother’s college mate, so I had asked her for help. It has been an year since I worked for him, and not a day had passed without him narrating a story or the other of his deceased wife, his Sita. And that day was my last at Kullu; I had a flight, early in the morning but the purpose of my stay, the answers to my questions, they all still remained in a blur. I settled down near the fireplace of Ramji’s house with a peg of whisky in hand while beginning a conversation with Ram Shankar Bisht that eventually changed the course of my life.
“Wait for that person who will believe in your crazy little world, driving life into those dreams by reliving them together. However mad and impossible your dreams might sound to be, it will never sound that way to her. Because she will believe in you, she will see what no one could ever possibly see, the real you. When she will be around, there would be no filters, there would be no veils, there would only be naked truth, the real you. So when she is there with you, you will know how lucky one can be. There is no doubt that she would be rare to find but trust me it will be worth the wait. Just imagine a morning you wake up dialing her number and suddenly narrating her your dream, even breaking into a song together. It’s like poetry running loose; she creates you a verse, you fit another verse with hers, and it just goes on and on, like there is no end to it. Despite sounding too idealistic, I would though admit that it ain’t going to be a La La Land if you come together, but it ain’t going to be an oblivion together as well. Sometimes the poetry might stop flirting or might stop to flow altogether but that doesn’t mean it’s going to end again, it means you need to jazz it up a little. So when the words stop to flow, you turn on the music and take her along for a dance. So don’t ever stop trying to hold on to someone who you feel right about, take your chances and make them work. It’s hard to find, it’s hard to seek someone as crazy and as wild as you really are, and when you do, try never to let them go.”
“Miracles need effort to happen”.
P.S. If they aren’t into you, move on.
Pic Courtesy: Google
The windows had been fluttering for a while and the curtains kept flying like a ghost, meanwhile I kept tucking my head inside the pillow to avoid any form of light so possible. I didn’t know how to fight it, I didn’t know who to side with, but all I managed to do was listen, even when I didn’t want to.
The fight had raged for over an hour, neither my mom nor my father had calmed down, instead they fired each other with insults and abuses, all the things they had accumulated in their 10 years of marriage. I was only 8 then, and didn’t knew that this would be our last day together. I didn’t even understand what was happening, until the judge had me asking whom I preferred to live with. The answer was simple then but may be a lot difficult now, I decided to side with my mother, knowingly or unknowingly I did let my father down for whom I was the biggest treasure in this world.
I missed him a lot, may be even my mother did but she never shared. She knew she could not be taken for weak, she knew she had to prove him wrong. All the time she tried to love me till a point where I will forget his existence, but all the time I kept feeling that it would have been better if he was along. I didn’t see my dad for over 15 years, they said he got married again but when I asked my mom the same, I was met with only silence. They said he has a daughter and a son, and a beautiful wife whom he finally loved and lived with, but I could never believe, I may never will. When I asked the same to my mother, this time I met with her tears along with a deeper silence. I could see that she still loved him but knew she would never admit it.
I tried searching for him everywhere till the point I found him on Facebook with a profile picture of his children and him. I was heartbroken, the rumour had finally come true and I wasn’t in a position to accept it. I made a pact with myself to never let him know about my curiosity, about my love for him, but all I was left were thoughts that I would confront him with, the thoughts where I would finally be able to ask whether he ever missed me. But I could never dare to message him until one day when I finally did. Those few hours were my longest till he finally replied with a place for us to meet.
Trying to fight both the emotions, happiness and fear, I made my way to the restaurant where I finally saw him in his trademark mustache which I had always tried to emulate but had failed times so many. I waived back at him with a big smile only to get a cold smile in return, making me question my decision to meet him but I tried hiding those thoughts as I made my way to the table.
After a long silence, he finally spoke.
Him: Do you drink? Shall I order a pint for you?
After having waived the waiter about the order, he tried to look straight into my eyes and tried saying something but couldn’t utter it out. There was tinge of a tear and a heaviness in his eyes when he finally said that he missed me.
I couldn’t control my tears as I replied at the very instant about how much I missed him. He came forward to console me and embraced me with a tight hug which I reciprocated. I was very much like him, very emotional, very sensitive and we always spoke from our heart. I knew it then that how much I loved him, but I just couldn’t leave him and I continued crying on my father’s shoulder.
Him: Calm down my son. I am here, don’t worry.
Me: Why didn’t you meet me or at least call me before? Did you even remember me?
Before I could let him answer, I kept asking him
Me: I needed you all these years but you weren’t there. And now you have come only when I called you, this is wrong Dad. This is very wrong. Did you actually miss me?
Him: I really did son, but I couldn’t do a thing before your mother’s will. She was adamant and for the right reason that I shouldn’t be allowed to meet you.
Me: Why would she say that? She still loves you!
Him: Even I love her and I would always do. But at that time I wasn’t at the right place, I had so many problems to sort that it took me time.
Me: What problems? Were they more important than me?
Him: They weren’t, they will never be. I will tell you about them when time comes, but as for now let’s leave them unanswered.
Me: Is it anything to do with your affair which broke us apart? Is it to do with your marriage?
Him: Yes it’s that affair which broke us apart but that was not the sole problem which I had to deal with. And who told you I was married?
Me: Some of our neighbors, I even saw your pic with two kids.
Him: They are my school children, I teach there.
Me: So you are not married?
Him: No I am not. Now will you stop accusing me and finally allow me to have my drink.
Me: Sure sure! We have a lot to catch up, mom will be really excited if she hears about you.
Him: I doubt that. Let’s put this meet as a secret.
Me: Not possible, you guys love each other then why don’t you give it another chance.
Him: It’s not that simple my boy. Now calm down, let’s see what happens.
Me: Okay, I am really hungry let’s go for the starters.
Him: Let’s go.
The conversation went on for another hour when we finally bid each other adieu, and I returned home to see my mom in tears. Dad had already called her about the meet, and she was happy as I told him but still wasn’t in a position to accept this until I finally opened up. She understood that this was inevitable, but she herself never gave him another chance. We met many more times but my hope for them to come together has remained a reverie. I am surely happy with the things as they are going but would always hope for a family finally; a happy ending some day.
Picture Courtesy: shutterstock.com
With shrillness in her voice & a sense of despair in her eyes,
She cajoled her emotions to withhold a minute further,
A minute that had never moved since the day many months ago.
She stepped to move further but to realize she was only going back,
She decided to take a seat back home but she ended where she began,
She knew she was losing it, but she didn’t realize she was stuck.
Raging over that person who took away that minute from her,
The minute she had waited for so long, the minute where he walked away from her;
She knew she was stuck but she knew she can’t admit the same.
Out driving the wheel to meet the loneliness of the road ahead,
Wishing that their company would be better than hers,
She drove towards the sea, to that very place where he sailed away.
Reminiscing the memories of the last minute,
The minute where he had chosen his nation over her,
The minute where he had made her a promise,
The promise to be with her forever and ever.
Months had passed by; the war had long ended,
But she kept running among the waves,
Waiting for that minute which never arrived,
She knew she was losing faith but she knew she can never admit the same.