The Unending - I
The Unending - I
It's my birthday today. My new friends and colleagues have been planning this for a long time. I felt it. The weird whispering and acting too busy in front of me didn't escape my eyes. But, never did I think, they had it so big in their minds!
Today, I stand on the fifth floor of Hotel Grande at the biggest birthday bash of my life. Lights of different colors, sizes and shapes patterned the big hall in the most artistic and classy way. They sparkled in my eyes along with my tears as I saw my family holding proud smiles on their faces. There were people I passed in my past; my friends from school, college and even the music college I left 12 years ago.
They look so different now.
'Let's blow the candles, Swara!' my colleague and best friend Ananya said dragging me to the center of attraction. I saw everyone clap in the big crowd. The joyous faces reminiscing a lot of memories I never thought would knock my mind again.
But, among the thousand delightful eyes, I still searched for a pair of brown piercing eyes that could make my heart stop in a jiffy.
He wasn't there.
Cheers erupted as the pink knife slid through the delicacy of the big chocolate cake.
'Happy birthday to Swara!' the familiar voices wished.
But, I couldn't hear the voice I craved to listen for the past five years.
I almost lost hope getting myself lost purposely into the jungles of newspaper reports I seem to edit all day, all night. But, somehow, someway today was different.
My eyes widened as Mohit surprised me with a surprising slide show of pictures representing various ages of my memories. There was me, mom and Dad tracking in Manali when I was in the ninth standard. Then, it was me and my Music Teacher Miss Gauri in a rare occasion where her annoyed lips touched my forehead affectionately.
Then there was Suzanne, Ajay and Mallika, my childhood buddies playing with my long braids. I couldn't help but smile. Then it was Vikas, Karuna and me with Professor Awasthi at the college feast. Me, Karuna and Samaira with Miss Nalini. I remembered another to be a photo taken secretly during my first vacation in Goa with my friends. I was taking a bite of the biggest leg piece in a chicken biriyani.
That must be Suhas! Mr. CEO of Rutland Corps was such a pain in the ass at those times. My eyes fell on Suhas who was laughing hysterically.
The next one was shot in the college library with me reading a Vikram Seth's An Equal Music. I remember this day. Vikas took the pic while I was discussing the book with...
I gasped as I remembered.
Wait!... Did they crop him off the picture? My eyes did some serious exercise of diving into the picture on the screen and making every attempt to see at least stand hair of him.
But, NO. It wasn't possible.
His eyes, his voice, his picture everything was now a mere fraction of my memory. That's what I've been counseling my mind for the last five years.
Every night, I would lay down on my bed trying to forget each and every word we ever said to each other. But, I could never forget them. I then close my eyes to erase the memories. But, that would only flood my mind with the images more vivid...of us sitting under a tree holding hands, of us in a children's park where I swung high when he pushed smiling all along, of us in our first date at the CCD at ML Plaza, of our first kiss, of the day he proposed me in the beach, of the day we got married and of many such days that never happened.
Sweet dreams often make you cry, right?
I wiped the corners of my eyes without anyone watching.
'Swara beta, now I think you should think about your marriage too.' my mom said placing her hand on my shoulder. 'See.. Ananya and Arnav! They look so cute!'
I looked at my best friend Ananya walking back to the party, this time dragging her reluctant husband with her.
I smiled. Arnav looked at me and gave a formal smile which I returned.
'See, how happy they are!' mom said again. 'You remember my friend Yukta, her son is a doctor in Amsterdam. I think he'll be a good match..'
I didn't listen to anything else she said. My eyes were lost in those piercing brown ones. 'Happy birthday Swara!' his magical voice created butterflies in my stomach like it did five years ago. '....
'Here..D.H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers, one of my favorites.. I know you'll love it too.' he said handing me over the thick blue paperback book.
I smiled. 'I love everything you say...' No. I didn't say that. He didn't hear me. Nobody heard me. Like those days in college, it was just me.
'I love you.' I whispered. He didn't answer.
Mom, Ananya and Arnav were talking and laughing about something. They didn't hear a word.
But, I know he did. And one day he'll definitely respond to that even after the buzzing alarm wakes me up in the morning.
I'll wait for him.