It was a solar eclipse that day. I still remember. The day had become somewhat like early evening devoid of sun. The sky looked pale because of that. We, at our house, were not supposed to go out of the house on this day, and that was the reason, I had to take off from the office and stay back home. I was standing near the window peeping out to catch some glimpse of the eclipse. I was so deeply immersed in thoughts, that even Appa's entry into my room went unnoticed by me. He gently patted my back, seeing the love in his eyes, I just lay my head on his chest. He started patting my back as if I was a kid to him, of course, even now he treats me like an 8-year-old though I am 28 now. Appa was like a friend, philosopher, guide, mentor, you name it, and he had that quality in him. This quality of him made me reveal to him the secret of my life, which I had kept from him for quite a long time. It's my love story, no wait, please don't come to conclusions, it's not a lovey-dovey kind of a love story, it's a love story with a difference. Well, you can call it a Bollywood dialogue, but my love story was somewhat similar to that.
I myself don't know when I happened to fall in love with him. His personality was very similar to that of my Appa's. Maybe that drew me closer to him. We both used to work in the same office since the time I started working, that was when I was 20. It's almost eight years now that our relationship is still going strong, credit should go to my Appa when I was about to break up with him because he is from a religion that my Amma never used to like. I was sure of Amma not accepting him as her son-in-law as she always used to look down upon the people from that religion. I had cursed myself for having gotten into such a relationship with him, but on hearing a no from my side, he had just told me one thing, that he would wait for me, come what may. His perseverance towards sustaining our relationship was what had allured me to him. I had even gone to the extent of not speaking to him for months by changing my phone and work shift, but nothing stopped him from becoming close to me.
I couldn't hold it in myself. One fine day, I had revealed it to my Appa, he took time to digest it and wouldn't speak to me for a week, mind you, just a week, unlike my Amma, who still wouldn't speak to me even now. After hearing everything about him, and more than that, meeting my love, quite often, he was happy with my choice and had supported me from then onwards. With such thoughts flowing through, I could feel my Appa's heartbeat. I lifted my head, and he told me to take some rest as the eclipse would take some more time to subside to which I nodded my head and lay on the bed. Appa switched on the fan and went out of the room. I could hear only the fan sound now in the room and as I was feeling drowsy, I fell asleep pretty fast.
Appa came and woke me up. In our tradition, we usually take a bath after the eclipse and have our food. We wouldn't have it during the eclipse. Amma had put neem leaves in the boiler. I took bath and went to the pooja room and after offering prayers, as my stomach was growling. I sat down with my parents to have my food. Usually, the lunch would be a silent affair after my Amma came to know about my affair. Otherwise, it would be a complete family affair, especially on weekends when I used to be home. Amma used to feed me and oil my long hair and sometimes would even give bath to me. She used to make all the goodies of my choice too. Her love and care, alas, I would have gotten back. With tears in my eyes. I put my head down and started seeing the plate so that they could not see tears in the corner of my eyes.
I was lost in my own thoughts. Appa elbowed me, and I came back to my senses. To my surprise, there were three plates on the floor. I just looked at Appa and he just grinned at me. Amma started serving, to my surprise, it was my favorite sweet. Amma wouldn't look at me, she kept on serving all my favorite. After serving all of us, she sat down, bringing her plate closer to mine. She patted on my back, that was enough for me. I just hugged my Amma like never before and rested my head on her lap. She lifted me up and wiped off the tears. She started feeding me. I just thanked my Appa by holding his hands tightly. The doorbell rang. Appa stopped me from getting up. I couldn't see as to who had come home since my Appa was blocking the view. My heart skipped a beat, it was him. I could see the twinkle in his eyes when he stared at me. My Appa was calling him in. I just wanted the earth to swallow me up as I didn't want to lose my Amma's love. I tried getting up from the floor, and Amma's hand pulled me down signaling me to not get up and have food. He kept on looking at me and my Amma's face. He washed his face and hands and came down and sat next to my Appa who served him food. I couldn't swallow the food. Appa told Amma also to have food with us and I started having it by myself. Each bite was like a ball of fire for me. There was pin-drop silence. After the lunch was over, when Amma called me inside the pooja room and told me to tie the sacred thread around his wrist, I couldn't believe it myself and asked her twice to which she got angry and went out and tied the thread herself to him. I just stood there stunned at Amma's response.
Appa called me out of the pooja room and told both of us to take blessings from Amma. Amma blessed and told us "now that the eclipse has subsided from the world, it has subsided from our lives too, right dear, she caressed my head."
Indeed, this solar eclipse was a blessing in disguise to me as I got back both my loved ones. Appa stood there smiling at me, who was the director behind the scenes, in silence......, and of course, thanks to the director above all of us...