Shikha - the name in my contact list had caught my attention the day my eyes fell on it. Actually it was not the only unfamiliar name in that list. But for some opaque reason, my heart and mind both were glued to that one name.
‘Shikha!!’ My mother repeated the name for the third time while pondering over it for a good 5 minutes. ‘No, you never mentioned it before,’ she said, ‘why don’t you call her and find out?’
‘Call her and say what - I don’t remember who she is?’ I replied, agitated, and stormed out.
Before you get any more baffled as to why I sound so weird, let me tell you I had lost my memory in an accident two months back. I had been in a coma for 15 days. Just when my parents had began to lose all hope of getting me back, I woke up surprising all. But with a brain erased of any memory of the last 10 years of my life. Strange, right? I believe God invents a new disease every day. Getting worked up over it was natural but what really startled me was my hang-up about the name Shikha.
Frustrated and crooked, I went straight to the Park which I’d started visiting of late. The tranquility, the alone time, the chirping of birds and the soft sound of flowing water in the fountain were not the only reasons why I came here. There was this girl - in her early twenties, charming, vivacious, sweet yet quiet - who would come here along with her friend every day at the same time. I know it sounds queer but I kind of started to put her face to the name Shikha.
What surprised me was that every day she’d carry a purple flower in her hands.
Today as I entered the park, I saw her sitting alone. Needless to say, I didn't want to lose a chance of getting to know her. Walking over to her, I stretched my hand out. ‘Hi, my name is Akash.’
She looked startled for a moment, then lowered her head and smiled meekly. ‘Hello.’
‘Mind if I join you?’
She shook her head slowly. I loved how the earrings, hanging from her earlobes, touched her neck softly. The red color of her knee-length dress perfectly suited her wheatish complexion. As I sat down, the bashful smile on her face made me stare at her in awe. ‘Your name?’ I asked hesitantly.
She looked sideways in my direction, her look blank. The smile had been replaced by an expression of bewilderment. She looked away, her hands clutching the flower so firmly that it seemed she would crush it.
I was about to repeat myself when she, much to my surprise, got up leaving the crumpled flower behind on the bench.
‘I dared to see a dream through my blind eyes,’ she said, ‘I thought the voice that I heard in my dream had a big heart. And then it turns out it is heartless.’
I gaped at her, shocked. Blind - the word resounded in my ears; rest of the words made no sense.
‘My wait ends here, Mr. Akash Sharma.’ She mumbled and walked away.