Varsha stood there that day by the beach, contemplating whether she should finally give in to her fears, her darkness and end her life for once and all. A person drowning in the sea was after all not uncommon in the Bombay monsoons. Sameer visited the sea like each day to engulf the salty moisture laden air, to feel the sense of optimism which the sea imparted to him. After all to feel released and liberated was the sense which the Bombay monsoons brought about.
Days later they spoke, less through spoken words and more through those little black printed letters that flashed on their mobile screens. He made her wise and she made the stoic him smile. They weren’t ever spotted together for their interests and their lifestyle made them the twain that could never meet.She was the fleeting butterfly who hoped out from one local to attend a dance recital only to hop onto another one a little later to rush for a drink at the local pub and strum her guitar and perpetually fail to meet office deadlines the next day. He was the disciplined one who would analyze, contemplate and then plan the day, time his schedules and made sure each day was productive. She lived like a manic, going without sleep for days and then hibernating for a few days to catch up on all the lost sleep with vigor as if she will not be able to sleep again ever. He lived by the watch and with his streaming mailbox showing him the way.
He asked her to slow down. She asked him to loosen up. They decided to come to a mutual consensus. After what seemed like barely six weeks, six months into their meeting, her colleagues at work fainted when she was punctual at a meeting impeccably dressed. In contrast he woke up with a bad hangover and called in sick to miss an important meeting, leaving his boss to wonder whether something was seriously wrong.Their dinner sessions were speckled with sarcasm; their drive home was filled with crazy tuneless songs. There was warmth in his face that made her glow. There was a spark in her eyes that made the world around lit up. There was a bond between them that spelled companionship and comfort.
There wasn’t anything that was romantic, yet there was an faith that imparted life. She loved him in the way she had come to embrace life. He loved her in a way he had come to embrace laughter.She thought this would go on forever, which each day beginning with a smile and ending with a comfort sleep. He didn’t know how far this love would take them in a relationship that could never be named. She depended on him and was scared to lose. He never had anything so was scared to depend.She felt she needed to talk. He felt he needed to talk.The dinner was at their favorite Italian restaurant. She was edgy. He was edgy too. But still they were comfortable, for there were looking into mirrors before themselves and not “another person”.They drank champagne till the French vineyards threatened to run dry and then they decided to walk down the beach. The cold wind and rumbling clouds made her shiver. Angry skies had always scared her. He held her and looked straight into her eyes and told her that he was going away to a different land. She just stood there numb. She said he couldn’t leave her. He said he made no promise to stay ever. She reasoned that he never said he would leave.
He said they had found enough within themselves to sustain.The rains splashed around her and the lightning struck again. She closed her eyes and felt she would be dead that night. He forced her to open the eyes and face the rain.“ she screamed. he shot back as he left her there stranded and walked towards the car.
It was her first morning without him. But strangely she was not unperturbed. It seemed as bright as yesterday when the phone buzzed to greet her. She smiled into the mirror which still whispered to her she was pretty, like it had been for the last year. She did not settle for grey instead picked up her favorite purple scarf. She wasn’t late for office and there was the same amount of positivism throughout the day. Yes she did check her phone for that non existent missed call or message but smiled at the blank screen instead of feeling sad.The rumbling clouds and a terrible rough weather made her colleagues advise her to go home early. She smiled and acceded, but didn’t drive home. She knew where she had to go.She stood by the sea shore, the salty water traces kissing her smiling face. She didn’t mind the salty traces of the vast water body that lay before her stinging her eyes.She had left her umbrella and socks in the car. She didn’t need them anymore. She now knew how to face her worst fears without bowing down to them. She looked at the sky and thanked the angel who had entered her life to change it forever. He was the bird who helped her to unclip her wings and spread them wide. She now knew how to fly and was deciding on the course to take – confident and courageous she stood there. There was no bitterness for she knew that he had not stranded her but had taught her to live and lead a strong and contended life.
----- Sagarika Chakraborthy
A corporate lawyer and author. She is currently studying at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad. Her first book, A Calendar Too Crowded, is a collection of short stories and poems on womanhood.
A calender too crowded -- By Sagarika Chakrabarthy is the book "In Focus"