Broken heart And a Tear
Broken heart And a Tear9 mins 225 9 mins 225
The air was cool, moist and yet, serene.
Camels walked with grace. Horses flip-flopped on the sand as if they were on a ramp. A few kids played castles. A teenage girl who was supposed to be into college, sold sun shades, umbrellas and every other item possible to survive and sustain hunger. She looked tanned, hair unkempt and trying to fit into a dress which was not of her age-baggy and tattered at places. A few meters away, a vendor sold tea and yet another, shells and beads.
Waves crashed and rolled, danced and retreated to strike back with greater force. Ships in a distance looked like Origami prepared by a Kindergarten student. a group of youngsters dived into the waves and tried taking selfies while a newly married couple, posed for a few memories at the beach- perhaps their honeymoon destination.
There was something mystic in this air: something which glued my heart to the sands, to the humid conditions, to the chaotic beach and to the person sitting next to me- my bestie!
I looked at her for a second and then thought, “Was it because of her that everything around me looked so beautiful?”
We have been friends for a decade. We flirt, we discuss, we share but there was never a feeling of love attached as a PDF to the file called heart.
This feeling of Love though beautiful, made me shudder. What if she refused? What if she stopped talking forever? What if… infinite assumptions!
A chai wala passed by.
“Ek lemon chai.Nae, do!”
I summoned her with a cup of lemon tea in my hand and she obliged.
“Sorry… client call yaar!” taking the cup from my hand, she smiled and resumed her talk while walking around.
I smiled back and then, staring into the currents, enjoyed my tea. The seismograph within my heart and mind which minted a thousand “What if’s…” showed stability and I mumbled to myself, “Nothing”
All in this quake zone of my own thoughts, I forgot to pay the chai wala who looked at me as if he were an Owl.
Taking the note, he still waited.
“Ab kya?” I asked amused.
“Cup …” he reminded, relatively frustrated with my preoccupied self.
“Swati!” I called her out, aloud beckoning her to return the cup she absentmindedly fidgeted with while discussing something important and urgent with her client.
Suddenly, I felt a vibration as if a thousand bees were buzzing near my ear. Something shook me. The whole universe around me seemed to be convulsing. A Tsunami!!!
I heard sounds as if someone was trying to call me. Faint sounds but clear enough to bring a person back to his senses and then, I felt something stinging. A tight slap on my bum!
Clueless and completely blank, I sprang on to my feet as to what hit me with my eyes wide open and mouth open for a laddu to fit in perfectly.
I heard giggles first, laughter next and then saw a few ROFL figures in front of me and gasped, “What?”
“Did you see your boss in your dreams, Papa?”
Now, I realized what was happening. Heaving a sigh of relief, I scratched my head and then joined my family as a ROFL figure.
“I forgot to record this Harsh. Can you please repeat it with the same expression so that I can send it to IGT for an audition?”
That was my wife Preeti-laughing her heart out along with Parul my daughter. I obliged to my audience.
I ruffled my hair, rubbed my eyes, sat as if a quake hit my bed and threw me down and posed for a shot with eyes and mouth wide open.
“Expression of the year Papa” Parul, my 12 years old daughter declared and joined me to give yet another crazier pose for yet another memorable click. Preeti joined in later setting the timer to complete a perfect crazy family picture and begin our weekend.
A few minutes later, as we were together sipping tea, we planned for the day. A movie, lunch at The Baker’s cave- Parul’s favorite destination and a visit to her friend’s house for weekend fun she planned. We decided to drop her at her friend’s place and drive around.
“Can you drop me at the parlor for a while darling?” Preeti requested.
“Of course babes, why not…In the meantime, I will visit Oxford’s books palace in the nearest mall. Ping me the moment you are ready, will return to pick you.” I responded with a smile.
Oxford’s was one place I found solace whenever I felt chaotic.
It was almost the replica of a library with books all around and silence. People visiting it were either readers or were there to walk around the exhibit of new books, old books, books they could not afford talking about but relish sitting in a silent corner before walking out either empty-handed or with a token purchase of something impulsive. The tea corner served the best varieties to those who spent hours there and I loved sipping green tea or a café mocha while delving into a thriller or a Sci-Fi. Today, however, I desired to read none. I just wanted to be with Swati and hence, positioned myself in front of the large glass frame overlooking a buzzing road, ordered a simple cup of tea and picked a book which was destined to lie unattended as long as I attended my dream.
My dream was my last meet with her at the beach.
We met but virtually. In those days, where social media was nonexistent, newspapers, Television (DD) and Post Office were the only mediums available. Swati and I met when we started writing letters to each other as pen friends. Never did we meet. We decided not to exchange any photographs either. Time flew by. From being a student at school I grew up to be a Commerce graduate and her, an Engineering graduate. Life changed the moment we completed our PG. Job life wasn’t easy. Even then, we were in contact via letters and phone. Life was a blessing for us until I met her for the first time. I planned a lot and one of those in the lot was a silly thought of proposing her for marriage- filmi Soch!
So, the second time when I met her and when we met in the evening at the beach, over a cup of hot lemon tea and some sea dust to add, I decided to spice it up with a proposal.
Swati was engrossed over a call. The Chai Wala was impatient by now. I was busy fidgeting with my idea of the proposal and how I must position it when the Chai Wala in a language unknown to me, slanged me. I wished Swati was there to decode this highly encrypted language the Chai wala used so that I could respond in my own language and decode it via the firewall called Swati but then, she was busy with her client and it was then, that I decided to walk over to her and collect the glass.
“Now, go!” I commanded him. He must have sworn a thousand times in Tamil before he left the place.
“Swati… can the client drown in the sea for a while?” I asked her in a hushed tone.
Distancing the phone safely, she said “Find a Genie who can do it for me!” and laughed. Call resumed.
I sat back looking at the sun. It dipped itself into the sea. Neither Swati nor I were able to find a Genie who could drown this client.
“I could have asked the Sun to wait for a while to drown this silly fellow Swati!” This time, my voice was louder than the roar of the waves.
She gave an expression which made ROSL –roll on the sand laughing! A few minutes later, she was finally free.
“Genie ko bulata, if not, a crane to throw this fellow into the Arabian Sea…He wasted my precious meeting hours malum… hain?”
“This Big B imitation does not suit you Harsh, naah… try something like Sanju baba!” and she laughed at her own joke. I joined her.
“ Well…jokes apart, client bhi BF s kam nae hote yaar!”
“Exactly. Some of them are so tharki that they don’t mind crossing their professional LOC. Sweta, your voice- it's mesmerizing, Swets, join me as a Zonal head…blah!blah!”
She continued speaking. I became an audience. The file started getting shared. Again!
Her curly hair, those sparkling eyes, childlike jolly nature, and my thoughts, they seemed to gel well but then, I felt a choke.
“Bol… Yahi hu yaar.”
“You were lost somewhere. Genie dekhliya tha kya?”
“Hahaha… a genie is right in front of me. Doosre ki kya zaroorat?”
Sweta stood up and started checking her head. Then looked at her feet, then hands and at the end, searching for something, “Where is it?” she asked.
“Where…what? Kya khogaya?”
“My magic lamp re…Genie, if I am, then, there must be a lamp. Aladdin, where is it?” she held her hands in the air and struck a pose looking into the darkening skies.
A few seconds later when she heard no answer, Sweta checked to see what happened. Harsh was on his knee and the other leg was 90 degrees to the ground, one hand was on his hip and the other in a position of the offering. With his head bowed as in respect, Harsh asked in a polite manner, “Lady, Aladdin asks for your hand. Do lend yours- forever!”
“…and where are the magic carpet Aladdin and your bird, your palace?”
Harsh looked up, stared at her for a second and rolled on sand laughing. She could not resist the temptation either and joined the laughter.
“Sweta…” Harsh sat back, took a deep breath and looked towards sea.
“Has the carpet arrived Aladdin?” Sweta inquired and started laughing.
Harsh, however, was in no mood now. Serious and composed, he turned towards Sweta, held her hands and cleared his throat to say something when Sweta spoke, “ galey m khich khich? Kuch lete kyu nae?” and laughed again.
Harsh smiled and pulled her closer to him in an embrace. Sweta felt as if a tremor struck and she was pushed towards Harsh. Recollecting herself, she tried to release herself when Harsh told her something.
“Can you please free me from your embrace Harsh?”
“Sorry” Harsh felt guilty.
Sweta collected her bag and without even bidding bye, left the beach. Harsh sat there, trying to look into the darkness that enveloped him all of a sudden.
His phone rang and wiping a tear which showed up, Harsh took a deep breath, collected his keys and left the table. The sky was cloudy as was the night when Sweta left.
She never called. Her last communication was a message which haunted him forever.
“You were a special guy for me till this happened. Harsh… tears never were a part of my life kit. You gifted me tears. I can’t promise if I ever can forget this night but then, this was our last meet. Thank you for those wonderful moments. Genie is now history.”
He reached the parlor, picked his wife and smiling, as usual, drove to pick Parul and return home for the day.
Weekend, ended and so did the story of his love.