Monday was a Holiday from office and it was raining heavily. I laid back lazily on my bed looking outside off my porch at the world colored wet by the shiny huge drops. The dawn deemed like a woman wrapped in a blue veil with an orange glow around and her face up to the rains pouring down her closed eyelids; and I swear I would never see such a beauty ever again. And as I thought of beauty, I realized my point of getting up so early on such a beautiful morning. I sacrificed the comfort of my bed, joined my hands and bowed to god for a small prayer. Not because I was too devoted to offer a prayer for such a beautiful morning, but cause of the fact that a holiday on Monday is like a dream of every Sunday night and seeing it come true makes us believe that the almighty is still up there. For the rest of the days, he just mocks us.
The daily routine changes a little on a Monday morning. Like for the fact for a bachelor, not brushing on a weekend is not a thing to get shocked upon, skipping a bath since its already raining outside and the water from the taps is cold enough to woo the living soul out of our live bodies and so on and so forth. I mean, even describing a bachelor men lifestyle can make people faint, but the logical one’s do get the point behind it. It’s just we test our laziness so that we could beat it the coming five working days. But today still being a holiday, I kept aside my bachelor hood style for a moment and dressed up, picked up my car keys and stepped out of my home for a small drive out of town.
Even the sun seemed in two minds today to wake up and get out off those dimly lit hills. It just rested his head over there peeking at the world around. I wished him to remain out there at least for today. I sat in my car and turned the engines to life. I could hear my baby speak right back to me. ‘Good Morning’ I said and I drove out off on the highway.
I was on my way to Belgaum. It’s a small village on the border of Karnataka and Maharashtra. From where I lived, it just took 3 hours of journey to be there. There are some beautiful places on the way to this place and monsoons make Belgaum all the more welcoming. But today it was for a very different reason that I was there. She will be coming down to Belgaum from the city. I shall be seeing her after ages and moreover it’s her 26th Birthday today. And what else could make the season all the more welcoming.
And there it was, as I took the turn, I could see it, the same old cafe hidden amidst the trees. I stopped outside the cafe, my heart beats beating fast. It’s as if my heart was racing with my eagerness of getting out of the car and rushing into the cafe to see that beautiful face. I parked my car in a haywire manner and rushed inside. There she was, right at the place that I always found her to be, at the corner of the cafe, with the glass pane at her left and she as always lost in the view outside through the wet dripped glass. I regained my composure, since I did not want her to see my eagerness, but she caught me in the act. She stood up and came rushing towards me and hugged me tightly. I lost all the formalities and composure for the moment and hugged her back.
We sat at our usual place beside the fireplace round the end of the cafe and beside the glass pane. The owner had known me for years now. He didn’t perturb us while we were having our moment but a little later as we settled down, he came up by our table and said in his ever cheery voice –‘Babu and Mem, it’s been a long time since we saw you in here. So do I prepare the usual for you two?’ And a chorus yes echoed off instantly to his question. He gave us a small courteous smile and went back.
I turned towards her. It took me sometime to take in her whole beauty since the very next moment she was laughing at my thawed expression. I realized I ought not to have been looking at her in awe or at least should have closed my mouth during the process. But she of course knew me. She smiled carelessly at me and I could not apologize more, since I was quite embarrassed too. We started catching up with old times, but I could see her growing edgy on me. I mean I knew what I was missing and what it was she wanted from me but I just ignored the fact for the moment. After some time, she turned grumpy and started looking outside the glass pane. I knew it was time that I stop acting. I rose up from my seat and went beside her. She now didn’t care for what I was doing. She was all lost counting the raindrops flowing against the glass pane. I took her hand in mine and kissed her on the cheek. By the time she could absorb of what I had done at the moment I whispered – ‘Happy B’day baby’.
A smile ran across her face and she stood and hugged me. But I could sense her quivering in my arms. I looked at her for one moment, everything seemed to be all right, yet I had that unusual instinct of discomfort. I chose to ignore my instincts for the moment. It was a very precious time for her as well as mine. I put my hands deep into my overcoat and said to her – ‘Baby, I got something very small yet a precious gift for you. You would just need to answer to get it’. But before I could even ask her she caught hold off my hand with her and with another she put them on my lips. I hushed up instantly. She turned back and said to me ‘I’m leaving’.
I stood stunned for a couple of seconds. I looked at her curiously for answers, questions, advice, something, which would unravel me off this sub-conscious state. ‘This isn’t a joke, right baby!!!’ ‘No’ she replied. I was not ready for the words still yet to come. I took my seat opposite her. She tried looking at me directly into my eyes, but somehow could not and tactically hid the rains in her eyes with her dancing eyelashes and her smooth eyelids. I was numb and silent. To my loud silence, she answered – ‘I have got another job in the States. I need to leave tomorrow morning. My aunt would pick me up from there and ..’ and I cut across her statement ‘so u meant you were leaving off to the States for job reasons right, but the way you said you were leaving, I just felt the oxygen kicked out off my lungs for some time.’
She remained quite. The echoing silence was eating me out alive. I was searching for an answer.
‘Yes and No’ she replied.
‘And was that supposed to mean?’
‘Yes, I’m leaving for the States, and No we cannot be together anymore. I mean I do not want you to keep waiting for me neither do I want you to get hurt by the distance. I know the distance had always been there but now being miles away, across international borders, I really cannot see the future ….’
I rose up from my seat. I’ve heard enough of her words.
‘A little trust is what you need'
These were my last words to her. I rushed out of the cafe and stood there in the rain. Every tear out of my eyes dropped off like waterfall. I turned round the corner towards my car, saw her at the same seat still seated. I went up to the glass pane. I was too afraid to think of a life without her and at the same time was left with no other option but the same. I raised my hand and kept it on the glass. A second later, I could see a shadow up against the glass. She had placed her palm against mine separated by the crying glass between us. I managed a subtle smile on my face, since I did not want her to start a new life making her feel grumpy and guilty. Forcefully yet slowly, I took away my palm off the glass and tried looking beyond. But all that I managed was her smooth lines pressed hard against the glass. I turned back, walked to my car and drove back home.
A chill went up my spines as I closed my diary reading the page for the umpteenth time. I tried hard to get back into the real world. I shrugged off the diary away from me. It’s been three years since this page had dreaded me every single day. I tried to think of something, other than the contents of this page. Something that would make me feel good, that would help me feel human again, but alas, the brain was dead, my heart numb and my body a zombie.
I rather decided to have a sip of my coffee and think how in the first place did I end up here? I was traveling to the hills; I lost my map, stayed at a local's place for a night, started my journey again and strayed down to Belgaum again. So I land up in Belgaum after three years. But the strangest part of the co-incidence being the date, the same day of April three years later.
I was sitting on the same table as we used to sit before. I looked down the cafe and memories came streaming in. I could see the flowerbed as always neatly played near the reception table. I remember plucking out flowers for her and the owner yelling at me for plucking them. I could see the guitar placed at the other end, which I remembered toying with, in front of her. I used to play music on my cell and use to pretend playing the riffs all the way down and she used to laugh on my antics. Though now, I was affluent with the instrument. Last but not the least; my eyes went up to the glass pane.
It had started raining for about an hour. The raindrops crashed against the hard glass. It's then I noticed how these joyful raindrops burst open on hitting the glass. Every drop collapsed on the glass, tries to regain her parts, tingling down the glass, catching the other drops and rapidly falling off it. The view kind of got hazy for me. It's not long before I realized that my eyes were even spilling some of those drops. I wiped them off my cuffs. I took my bag kept by my side, opened it up and took out a tiny triangular shaped box. I opened the box and inside laid a shiny stone caught in the ballad of a ring.
This ring had never lost its luster, but it was never answered to be offered. It remained buried in my overcoat three years before and till then it has always waited for the answer. I tried looking away from the ring off through the glass. I could still see my palm etched on the glass. I put my palm on the glass. I could see the falling raindrops flowing past the glass and disappearing behind my palms. I traced those disappearing droplets to find them sipping down underneath, reappearing from the bottom of my palm. But I did not want them to fall off. I wanted to hold them back. I stared at those sipping raindrops or quite some time. Lastly when I knew it was out of my bounds to hold them back I gradually started to slip off my hand off the glass pane. But, as I slipped my palm, i could see another lines pressed hard against the glass.
I knew those lines. I have read them before. I have held them before. I have kissed, hugged them. It was those very same lines that I wanted my name etched in. Mixed with shock and anticipation I waited for the palm to answer my senses. The palm at the other end slowly shifted and I could see a familiar face off the other end of the glass pane. And there she was standing right outside, drenched in rain, her eyes meeting mine.
And behind that face opposite the crying glass, I could see my Diary, again breathing today's date and few more blank pages to follow.