Thursday, May 01, 2014

Dearest !

‘Give me an idea to write a story.’ Aniket said.
He quietly placed his head on Vidya’s lap as he lied on sofa. She turned her face towards him and strings of curly hair came on her face. She was wearing a big red bindi, her cheeks were not thin as they used to be and her petite frame of adolescence had given way to graceful womanly shape. She looked at him thoughtfully, resting her chin on her palm. Her bangles clinked while doing that. She probably wanted to say something but just stared and gave a smile. Her dimple looked exactly the same.    
‘Write something different this time, something not inspired from our story.’ Aniket guessed her words.
The wall just behind the sofa was covered with their photographs, bright happy moments of their past, neatly set up in black outlined frame. Vidya had personally selected each of them.
The picture on the topmost left was a school group photograph. Vidya dutifully played the ‘guess where I am’ with anyone who was ready to play. It was a typical school photographs devoid of fun, with teacher sitting at front and children sitting or standing behind in a row. No one smiled in the photograph. A blue banner at the background read:
Class VI B, Sacred Heart Convent School
August, 1998
It was the year when she got admitted to his school. She was the daughter of new District Collector and her sitting posture, erect, proud and full of grace bore testimony to that. She became new star of the school and he never gathered courage to speak to her for next three years. That was the reason he wrote his first story; to express what he could never say.
It was an honest story written with naiveté and the school magazine did not find it worthy of being published. Vidya, being the ornamental ‘student editor’ on the editorial board found it labelled ‘Not suitable for kids’ and read it for curiosity’s sake.  That day when he was sitting alone, she came and said ‘Promise that I will be the first one to read whatever you wrote’. There was something in her eyes which told they had known each other for years.   
He came rushing whenever he came up with anything new. He loved to observe her facial expressions while she read; clear symmetric lines appearing on her beautiful face. That was enough reward for his work.
As years went by, a bond emerged between them which people termed love. They found it a blend of camaraderie, trust and craving for each other. Her father, who had retired by this time, did not approve. Aniket was not affluent and her father saw no future in him. ‘You are going to repent one day. He writes childish love letters in garb of stories and I will not let you ruin your life for a struggling wordsmith.’
Time passed by and it became difficult to keep count of publishers who rejected his work. Only Vidya kept him going and just when it appeared that everything was lost, his first book got published. It was a story of hatred, not love. The protagonist was struggling middle aged writer who found inspiration in a beautiful teenage girl. It was a dark story and the writer was possessive and cruel. He followed this girl wherever she went but she could never notice him. Her beauty increased every day and young men who proposed her multiplied exponentially. These young men also vanished without leaving a trace, and she was always left alone. As the story progressed it was difficult to decide what was more intense, his longing for this girl or his hatred for anyone she loved. When the story ended, countless corpses were scattered in writer’s chateau.
Vidya gave this book to her father to read and he consented to their wedding. After his first book got published, he never looked back. There was a rush amongst publishers to print his old work and he was termed as king of romance. His best work was inspired from his life. His latest book got him the prestigious Palm Award and an honorary PhD. That was a year back. Slowly he found difficult to concentrate and was never happy with whatever he wrote.
‘You know Vidya, I am aware of my mediocrity. This world is going to brand me failure.’
‘You are again stuck in Writers Block, you need a good break.’ He did not recall if she actually said it or just meant to say. They hardly needed words to communicate. Was this perfect union of man and wife? This finality did not comfort him. Why was he so restless at the height of his success?  
‘I think I have given this world whatever I had and it’s time to leave. I want you to hold me tight, I feel very lonely.’ Aniket said. There were tears in his eyes. She had never seen him like this. He shrunk on the sofa like an old man. There was a melancholic smell in the room, something which could have been labelled as the smell of death, and she was determined to ignore it.
‘Aniket, you have always bounced back with an amazing story. Do you recall the story that wrote about your proposal? It was really wonderful.’ His eyebrows relaxed after hearing that. He loved whenever she talked about his work. ‘I loved how the character wooed this girl, taking her on long drives in his dilapidated fiat and the manner in which he lighted his house with scented candles before hanging upside down to propose.’
‘And then the house caught fire from those candles.’ Finally a smile came on his face.  
She kept on talking about his stories and he maintained his smile. He forgot if she was talking about his writing or story of their lives. She talked about the night when they made love for the first time. He could feel that scorching summer heat and her tender skin. She talked about his love of her fragrance and his longing for her. He tried to decipher if it was love or lust. Both appeared to be the same thing. He thought about their nights on the terrace when they endlessly chatted till the dawn came, the sound of the trains passing nearby tracks and wind gushing in before the rains.
She mentioned strain in their relationship when she got busy with her work and their fiery debates if they should have kids. He then remembered their stillborn child, a lifeless lump of flesh and bones; and her tears which came every day for years after that. Moments of his life, of pride and embarrassment, of companionship and solitude, of love and his loss flashed before his eyes. It appeared that today was the judgement day. His life was being telecasted and someone was to pronounce judgement. Everything was in compartments, neat, isolated compartments and his eyes kept on moving between them. He was watching the moments and also living them. He could feel each moment’s joy and pain and whenever he tried to look for her, Vidya was standing next to him. He couldn’t remember the face of his mother and it had blurred with Vidya’s face.  He felt that she was his mother goddess.
            Noise of shrill doorbell broke his trance.
‘You slept few hours back.’ Vidya was sitting still, lest she disturbed his sleep. She gently kissed his cheeks and asked him to open the door.
‘Hello Bhabhi’ Harish said as he entered the room. He was Aniket’s childhood friend.  
‘Aniket you should allow Bhabhi at least some sleep at night.’ He had noticed their red eyes and never missed an opportunity to tease.
‘I will get some tea.’ Vidya left the room sheepishly.  
Morning was different from the night before. Birds chirped loudly outside, a beam of sunlight entered the room and everything looked changed. There was a calm expression on Aniket’s face.
After an awkward silence, Harish asked: ‘You have not told her anything?’
‘You are not my judge.’ Aniket said staring at blank. ‘Is everything ready?’
‘Here is your Visa for five years. Best of luck for your relocation to a new world, you never deserved Vidya bhabhi’. He gave Aniket a disdainful look and threw the documents at him. Vidya came with the tea which Harish quietly sipped and left without saying goodbye to any of them.
The day progressed just like any other day and in the afternoon they went to sleep. When Vidya woke up in the evening, she found a note:

I know that you deserve more than just a note. You merit everything that is worth in this world, but then you married me; an unsure restless soul. I am restless now and I do not know where to go. More than that, I know that cannot stay at the same place. I do not have the courage to apologise to you; others will never forgive me.
By the time you wake up, I would have already started my journey for an unknown terrain. To begin with, I am going to Colombia. Why Colombia, because I just found its name in the newspapers and it was Marquez’s land; remember Marquez, you introduced his writings to me.
I feel that my ideas, my creativity is already dead; the thought is suffocating actually. I need life to hit with a brick on my head.  I want to go to a place where I do not find your love. I want to get hurt, and I do not want you to be there to protect me. I always loved you, and I love you now more when I have the fear of losing you. I do not know if I will ever see you again but let us hope that one day when everything is well, when we are young and madly in love, we meet again. 
Everyone will think that I am mad but perhaps you will understand. I did not wish to die, I wanted to live.


vandana yadav said...

beautiful writing Anurag.

reminded me of the two of you in parts ---
take up writing professionally


sweta said...

Touched a chord. You should write more often.

Pawan said...

Reminded me of "Her". Exceptional.

Priyanka Peeramsetty said...

Made for an interesting read. Proved again that not-so-happy endings leave a deeper impression !

Anonymous said...

So the Girl's father was right after all.

geo kv said...

very nice....really

geo kv said...

very nice indeed.......