She sat amused with what she was observing. Sincere prayers, blossoming hopes and unshakeable conviction seemed to surround her. She was not in a place of worship to witness such a dedication to belief. The pace of the place was daunting to her. Everybody had some place where they had head. Everybody was needed pronto. The mad frenzied rush was a little too much for her to process.
She sat in silence and rested her tired body and eyes. The memories buried in the farthest corners of her mind were being ushered to the front line that very moment.
He was a romantic. Every thing about him was a contradiction to an otherwise pragmatic world. The day was fresh in her memory now. They both were in a crowded bus in Chennai. Route 29C. The bus kicked off in Besant Nagar and it snaked its way across the span of the city. The bus was crowded as always. They both stood together. The uncomfortable squeeze that the crowd forced on them, helped them realize the blessing it was. Comforting closeness and a sense of togetherness felt cemented that moment.
“Come closer”, he said. “I want to whisper something in your ear”. He grinned at his usual lunacy. The decrepit drone of chatter around had drowned his voice. He called out his request again, only a little louder .
She tilted her head towards him and loaned him her ear.
She smiled wide and bright. She held his hand tight. It was the first time she had brushed aside her fear of the society and expressed her adoration of him by holding on to his hand.
Excuse me, a voice interrupted. Her head was leaned against the wall. She adjusted herself so that the gentleman could walk past her chair.
She took a deep breath and sunk back into her chair again.
The day of their wedding was laugh riot. Friends and family had joined them with presents and their blessings. There was a casual tone in the air. It didn’t feel like a formal affair. South Indian weddings did have a nasty reputation of forcing dogmatic disciplined rituals to be carried out. He had once joked that marrying the south Indian way would serve as a permanent reminder that a divorce and a second marriage was not worth the hassle. It was the kind of deal where one endured hardship for a day which would forever stay etched in memory!
A priest was carrying out his work. The moment was there. Sacred rope in hand, he had reached out to her ear to whisper something to her.
She smiled wide and bright. She adjusted herself to sit a little more closer to him. Her sister teased her straight away. It was in smiles and happy hearty laughs, the new couple had started their journey of a life together.
‘Amma’, (mom) a voice called out to her.
Dhwani looked just as exhausted as her mother. They almost looked the same in every way imaginable. The lines of age differentiated the two. Watching Dhwani triggered a few more memories.
She was resting in the hospital bed after the delivery. Feeble in the body but euphoric in spirit, there was an air of satisfied bliss shining on her face. He had walked in. He took her hand and softly kissed it. He leaned closer and she knew what was to come next. Only this time, his heart was not in pursuit of her ears to whisper a meek secret. ‘Not all my secrets are for you my love’ he said coyly. He pecked her forehead and went on to whisper his secret to his lovely angelic daughter.
The little one seemed to understand. She stayed still while her dad whispered. She took a moment to let his words sink into her fresh tiny soul. She smiled to acknowledge that she understood what he had said. That bond between a father and his daughter had it’s strongest foundation laid that day.
‘Amma’, Dhwani interrupted her mother’s chain of thoughts again.
‘Yes’, she replied soft. Nothing seemed anymore real to her. Her memories were as real as the reality of where she was that moment. She seemed to be caught in a daze. The parallels of time had finally converged to her. The past and the present seemed to harmoniously coexist that day.
‘You can talk to dad now’, Dhwani continued. He, and she stopped her sentence.
As he rested peacefully in his bed, he knew his journey was coming to an end of sorts. All the philosophers and seekers of truth whose thirst for wisdom had left them blind to a far simpler truth. Nothing mattered more than life. He had lived a wonderful life. He had no regrets to frown upon that day. He wasn’t worried about what was there beyond. He wasn’t pained by what he’d have to leave behind. Yes, she’d miss him as he would miss her. It wasn’t a sign of sadness seeping through his heart that was on the verge of giving up. It was a simple sign of how much they both would miss each other’s company.
That was all the truth and wisdom that he had ever aspired for.
His breathing felt strained. His eyes slowly giving up on light, he could see enough to stay aware of the fact that the woman who completed his soul was standing right beside him at that very moment. He felt blessed. She was there and that was all that really mattered. He tried to inch his body towards her. His body refused to budge.
He took a deliberated breath, that was all that he could muster.
It was her time to whisper. ‘You’ve told me this, all our life together. I’ll always love you forever. Even from my grave’, she paused. ‘Likewise love’ she said. ‘Keep your promise.’
It was his turn to smile wide and bright.
Inspired by woes of a FB friend. Apparently their gang had written notes and stuffed them in a box. Friends one day, strangers the other and memories that last a lifetime, should one indulge them. Realities of life, woes of the heart. And it made me wonder about the nature of promises and the elation of living by them 🙂