The Reunion7 mins 650 7 mins 650
The clock steadily ticked on, it was getting really late, Chaaya sat on her desk, desperately trying to complete the last leg of her report, she could not afford to keep it pending for the next day, “Who knew Fridays would be so stressful one day?” she wondered, and she relentlessly kept typing, “Ping!” went her laptop, it was an email-an email from her School.
“An Invite for the batch of 2008-2009!” was its title at the very beginning, she quickly scrolled down, it was a reunion for her batch, where she almost spent twelve whole years of her life, it was strange getting emails from that id after such a long time, a quick memory of those old corridors flashed back in her mind, the ground, the old playground, the uniform, she wondered where all her other batch mates were,- the clock’s aggressive ticking brought her back to the present, she swiftly went through other details, at the very end there was another attachment, Chaaya ignored it and closed the tab, she quickly planned it all in her mind, she would extend her weekend to the much needed break-but first she has to deal with this report and she did.
Chaaya was excited to meet everyone again, after passing out she was almost cut off from everyone with her family shifting to another city, social media did exist later, but it could hardly keep people connected with no one really having the time, and who could be blamed, when life really was such.
She quietly packed her bag, thinking about those little incidents which were slowly creeping out of the window of her memories, she knew she was going to feel the same way throughout the journey, but she was happy she was going.
After a journey of eight hours, she finally reached her destination, she checked in a hotel for the night, it felt strange to back in the city, but not be in her old room, she lay in her bed with this old thoughts, sleep came to her, but it wasn’t as fulfilling -she blamed the excitement for it.
The next day was filled with equal nervous energy for her, twenty minutes late but she did manage to reach the old house of her memories- her school. The front gate was lit with fancy lights, Chaaya adjusted her coat it was a bit chilly that night. The program was being held in the old auditorium, a lot had changed, the walls had been repainted, she could hear people in the room, she opened the door and went inside, she stood in the corner for a while, crowds always made her uneasy- her hands dug deeper in her coat pockets.
She was about to turn back when a familiar voice called her “Chaaya is that you?” it was Ruby her old friend they had music together, “How are you? Oh god, I am so glad you came, do you even remember me?” Ruby said it all in once,” Of course I do, how can I forget those music lessons we had together!”
Both of them walked to the rest of the group, Chaaya met everyone one by one, all of them had changed so much yet so little, they laughed and shared their stories, some showed the pictures of their partners, took photos, everyone was having a good time, She found herself quietly standing in a corner, she wasn’t surprised- that is how every party ended for her anyways, suddenly the thought of the Garden came to her mind besides the school background, she remembered giving water to those plants from her blue water bottle while coming back home from school every day, she loved to check on the flower when she was here, the same old urge took over her and she walked out the auditorium to the ground, she could see the garden lights shining bright from afar. Bloomed flowers still hung in the air; it felt like they had never really withered since the past years. It was very quiet outside, and felt even quieter after being in a noisy room.
She stood there for quite sometime before she heard the footsteps of someone- a dark silhouette approached from behind, Chaaya strained her eyes in the garden lights to look at who it was, ‘’Arjun is that you?” “ Wow that was quick, your memory is still sharp huh” chuckled Arjun, they had been in the same class for two years, ‘’oh please, you look exactly the same.”
“Back in the same garden? We all knew you loved this place didn’t you?” Arjun asked, ‘’ Well I loved watching the flowers and sometimes when no one watched I even took a few homes to my mother..” they both laughed.
“I’m glad they kept this reunion I got to meet everyone after such a long time.” Arjun quietly said Chaaya nodded in silence. ”So what are you up to these days?” ‘’ Well just grinding my days off in the corporate, I do love my job, but to be honest- sometimes it gets too much, sometimes I forget the purpose of it all, anyways what about you Arjun, back in the day didn’t you try modeling?” she teased. ‘’ Oh god, you still remember, what was I even thinking! Mothers you know, they can make you do anything..” laughed Arjun,” I used to work for my dad’s business, it’s just recently I had to leave.”
Before Chaaya could ask anything else Arjun continued,’’ Anyways do we have a special someone, or do you still believe all of this is meaningless?” Arjun asked while bending down to look at a lily, “Umm what?” Chaaya was caught off-guard, she remembered having this conversation with him once, it was strange how he still had that old silly conversation in his mind.
“It’s impressive how much your memory can hold, really, for the answer to your question I don’t completely feel like I once used to, like love for me isn’t meaningless but the heartbreak and intentional pain which it inflicts- is.” she quietly said looking away in the distance. ‘Fair enough, but….” “But what about you?” asked Chaaya, “Well its tough the girl I loved, loved someone else….” Before he could complete, Chaaya felt bad for asking and said, “I am so sorry for asking, but see this is the point I was trying to convey, is the hurt, the pain really even worth it?”
Both of them stood quiet for a moment, the clouds had floated away, giving the moon full power to shine, Chaaya stood introspecting what she had said, she was scared she spoke too much, she was really surprised how the introvert in her could talk so much suddenly.
Arjun’s deep voice broke the silence, “You see that flower? It’s called a Night Gladiolus……” he said as he pointed at a closed white flower in the distance, “You know its specialty- it only blooms at night,” Chaaya looked at the flower and stood confused, Arjun turned towards her and said,” What you don’t see it? it’s a lot like love, that flower knows that it would either wither up or dry up in the morning, but it still blooms no matter what. Blooms to feel the night, no matter how short.” He stood quietly and then said “Bloom when you still have time Chaaya.”
Chaaya stood quietly looking at the close flower slowly making sense of what he just said, it amazed her how mature he had become, he was like a whole new individual she had never known, a strange uneasiness got over her,” Hey its really getting cold lets go inside, I have left my purse there too” she said. “Oh you get in I’ll be back in sometime.”
Chaaya turned to go inside, “Hey where were you, we were searching for you inside, it’s really cold come in….” it was Ruby “Oh I was out in the Garden talking to Arjun, he has changed a lot since I last…….” “What! That’s a really sick joke Chaaya, stop!” “What do you mean?” “Didn’t you, didn’t you come in the morning, or see the mail?” Ruby almost yelled, Chaaya stood still with a face of utter confusion, Ruby held her hand and took her up the stairs to a room beside the old staff room, she dropped her coat from her hand almost losing balance, Ruby quickly held her, in front of them stood the picture of Arjun, with burnt-out candles flickering under it,
“Forever in our hearts and memory”
Chaaya’s head reeled, she stumbled “Wh…what happened?” “ We don’t know much except that he was in a car accident a few weeks ago, the school arranged for a memorial for him this morning, we thought you couldn’t make it”- that old unopened attachment file floated in front of her eyes, she choked up.
“I need to get going, Ruby…..”Saying so Chaaya rushed out of the school, her legs still shaking- her eyes went towards the corner of the garden it was empty, except for that Night Gladiolus- which had just bloomed.