Monday, June 18, 2012

The Story Behind Our Song (Part 2 of 2)

Continued from here.

Dear Dishy,

I am writing this letter sitting in Jenny Auntie’s café. I know you don’t like summers but I wish you were with me right now, enjoying this beautiful May afternoon with me. There is this huge Jacaranda tree opposite to the café. I can see it through the window next to place I am sitting. It seems as if someone has sprayed a deep mauve color into the sky.
Dish I can see our future, as I sit here. I imagine us getting old together. I imagine retiring with you on a farmhouse. I imagine talking walks with you under the warmth of the sun in winter afternoons and under brightly lit sky in the summer nights. I imagine looking at our grandchildren as they play in the rains. I imagine barbeque parties in our garden. I imagine a house full of photographs. Photographs that tell our story. The story which began long before we met. The story which won’t end with us. The story which will continue with our children and their children and then their children. And the story, which the whole world will read one day.
There was no rhyme or reason behind this letter. Just one of those moments when I wanted you near, when I wished I hadn’t waited for so long.
I am sending you few photographs I took near the café, to let you feel the beauty of the Jacaranda tree in full bloom. And I am sending you a few smiles to make the coming few months easier.

Love always,

That was the first letter he had written to her. The edges were now frayed and deep creases were marked where she had unfolded and folded the letter a hundred times. The only thing that was touched by just the two of them, she would read the letter whenever she miss Harit. Though they had shared more than twenty letters over the past six years, for some reason his first letter would always remain precious to her.

The captain’s announcement broke her thoughts.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we have just been cleared to land at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. Please make sure your seat belt is securely fastened. The flight attendants are currently passing around the cabin to make a final compliance check and pick up any remaining cups and glasses. Thank you."

This was not how she was supposed to come back to India. She sighed and put the letter in her pocket. She was supposed to be feeling edgy with butterflies fluttering nineteen to a dozen, instead she felt queasy and jittery as every moment passed.

The phone call had come at 5’o clock in the morning. Groggily she glanced at the number. She pressed the receive button quickly and muttered, “Harit?”
It wasn’t Harit on the phone. She couldn’t recall half of what the caller had said. All she knew that he needed her, that she had to leave for India today. He didn’t have much time they had said.
The ride from the airport to the hospital seemed longer than her 9 hours flight. Disha enquired about him at the reception.
Harit Shah. Room no. 402.

He turned his head towards the door as he heard it open and smiled wide. Too weak to sit up, he stretched his hand towards her. She smiled back and walked towards him. Her throat was tight, but Disha didn’t want to cry. She would remain strong for him. There would be plenty of time to cry when… she couldn’t think further. She knelt near his bed, holding his hand in her palms. They gazed at each other, making up for the lost time, for all those years spent far away. She wanted to take in as much as she could, she wanted to create a memory that would stay forever within her heart and not on some paper or mails or photographs.  The way his left cheek dimpled when he smiled, the cut on his forehead, the way he blinked before looking back into her eyes, the way his nose crinkled as he smiled.

It wasn’t how either of them had imagined it to be. It was supposed to be a scene right out of a movie and not in a hospital room. But it still seemed perfect. The way their hands fit together. The way her smooth palms warmed his cold hands.

After a while, he motioned her to pick a notebook lying on the side table. She flipped it open, and read the five words written in his hand, “The story behind our song..”

10th May, 2009

Disha smiled as she got of the phone with the editor. He had loved the book. Harit was right, summers are beautiful, she thought, looking up towards the bright summer sky. She got up from the bench and plucked a flower from a low lying branch of the huge Jacaranda tree. And placed it next to their photograph inside his notebook.  Their only photograph together. As she looked into his smiling eyes, she whispered, “Our story will continue Harit.”

Pictures from herehere, here and here

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Story Behind Our Song (Part 1 of 2)

31st March, 2009

The bells on the door tinkled as Disha entered the café. The place was exactly like he had described it to her, and exactly like she had imagined it would be. He would sketch an image in her mind, just by his words and make her feel the ambience even through all the distance. Everything that surrounded her was new and still very familiar. The sunlight streaming through the skylight onto the bookshelf. The maroon armchair, from where he had spend countless afternoons, talking to her, laughing with her, fighting with her, listening to her, crying with her. The huge windows on the south. The big Jacaranda tree opposite to the café. She even knew how the tree would look in full bloom during the summers.
The aroma of freshly brewed coffee made her yearn for one. She ordered a latte and smiled at the owner, Jenny Auntie, as if she was a regular there. She moved to the bookshelf, while waiting for her coffee. She found a few of the titles familiar. He had made her read every book he liked. When Jenny Auntie called her name, she collected her coffee from the counter and settled into the maroon armchair. For a moment, it felt like he was holding her in his arms. She smirked at herself for the thought. After all he hadn’t ever hugged her. She set her mug on the table nearby and turned on her laptop. She was meeting his (and now her) editor today. She wanted to be sure that he would be interested in their manuscript. It wasn’t just a manuscript to her, it was her story. Their story.
 November 10th, 2006

Dishi10: Where have you been? I’ve been waiting since an hour and a half!
Harits: I had to meet these pesky clients and they weren’t leaving me. I even told them I have to go to the hospital for some tests.
Dishi10: What tests?
Harits: And finally when I started holding my breath so that my face could turn red, and they would believe I am actually sick.
Dishi10: WHAT TESTS??
Harits: That’s when they let me go.
Dishi10: What tests you idiot?
Harits: No no, no tests honey, I just made an excuse. So that I could talk to you for a while.
Dishi10: The while’s going to end in 15 minutes now.
Harits: I know I am sorry, next time if I am going to get late, I will text and inform you.
Dishi10: Did you check for the tickets?
Harits: Oh..
Dishi10: You haven’t yet?? Only two weeks left!! What if you don’t get any?
Harits: Then I’ll charter a plane.
Dishi10: Aww.. my hero, you don’t need to do that. You can come here when I am old and haggard, living in some retirement home
Harits: Okay okay, I’ll book the tickets right now. Please show up when the flight lands.
Dishi10: :)
Harits: What?
Dishi10: Two weeks!
Harits: Yes, two weeks baby! I love you.
Dishi10: I love you more.
Harits: Hey, Jenny Auntie sends her love. And now she wants to meet you.
Dishi10: Tell her that Harit is a coward and doesn’t want to meet me in India.
Harits: She says she’ll kick his ass for you.
Dishi10: Thank you Jenny Auntie. Harit, I am leaving for a meeting now.
Harits: See you love..
Dishi10: in two weeks.
Harits: :)
Hey luv, 27 Nov ’m coming 2 u.

Will u recognize me?

U’ll b d 1 wearing d biggest smile ;)

U bet, I will!

26th November, 2006

11:37 am
The number you are trying to reach is presently out of coverage area. If you are an airtel subscriber…
Disha cursed him, “Darn it Harit, where are you?”, fed up with hearing the audio message again and again.

12:10 pm
Trying to call you. Your cell number is unreachable. No one is answering your home number. Cold feet??!
Message sent.

5:00 pm
Your flight leaves in two hours. I will kill you if you don’t board it.
Message sent.

7:00 pm
The number you are trying to reach is presently out of coverage area. If you…

More than angry, Disha was anxious. This was not something Harit would do. He won’t back out like this. Even if he wanted to, he would tell her first. No, something definitely must’ve gone wrong. She called up the airlines asking whether there had been any cancellations. “I’m sorry Ma’am, there has been no cancellation under the name of Mr. Harit Shah.”
“Can you tell me if he boarded the plane?”
“I am sorry Ma’am, I am not supposed to give out any information. It is against our company rules.”
“Well thank you very much.” And she slammed the phone down.

30th November, 2006

The number you are trying to reach is presently unavailable. Please try again later..

Three days had passed since she heard from Harit. She had even gone to the airport, hoping he would surprise her.

To be continued...

Note: Pictures from herehere


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