The sound of rain eased and crippled his soul at the same time.
“One more cutting chai Raman”, he mumbled in his low husky voice as he kept the just emptied glass back on the table.
Across the small streetside canteen, he spotted his childhood friends Kumar and Prabhu running for shelter from the downpour. As Raman brings him the newly filled glass of tea, he looks around searching for newspapers, only in vain.
Having tea, one small sip at a time, his mind diverts to the topic that has made him restless since weeks.
His wife has been diagnosed with a long named rare and deadly disease, and is still in the hospital, battling death. He spends his entire day looking after her. It’s only in the evening that he takes a small break and comes here at Raman’s for his usual cup of tea. It’s here that he takes a break from everything and sets his mind free.
And per his daily ritual, he takes out his old worn out Nokia phone and dials out his daughter’s number, only to get the same reply back.
“The number you’re calling is currently unavailable. Please try again later.”
He still remembers the day she was born and how happy he and Parvati were. He couldn’t stop but stare at her small doe-shaped eyes that time. Her smile was his priority. Working overtime so that his low wages don’t affect her education was one of his favourite past-times.
But he couldn’t recall how fast time ran out. She turned out to be a smart businesswoman who eventually went abroad to pursue her dreams. And that paved the way to the start of a strained relationship between them. She rarely called, nor did she accept any calls. The only two times they conversed lasted for just a few seconds where she snapped, “I’m too busy currently. Will call you back.” A well-framed lie.
As he takes regular sips from the small glass of tea, he waits for a second and smiles at the very monotony of it. He has been doing the same thing every day, yet didn’t get bored by it.
And much to his knowledge,
past is the only place where he truly resided. Presently, he just survived on those memories. The happy sad moments between him and Parvati.
Be it the day when they first went to watch a movie and how funny it turned out to be, or be it their first major fight and how they mended ways; it’s still fresh in his mind.
It’s these memories that keep him sane and alive.
His wrinkled fingers play with the glass before keeping it on the table.
He still shudders at the flashback of the conversation he had with the Doctor a few days ago. Her condition has been getting more fragile with each passing day.
After paying Raman the bill, he stood up and walked up to the edge of the shop and stared at the dark clouds above him. The rain hasn’t shown any signs of lightening up till now. The constant thunder made things more gloomy.
“Run Bhargav! Fast! Under that tree!”, Parvati said as she ran for shelter.
“No Parvati! No more hiding!”, he said otherwise and held her hand.
“What will I say to Dad when he asks..”
“Tell my name. Simple!”, a 7-year-old Bhargav smiled innocently.
She smiled back.
That’s all he wanted.
“Enough for today.. too many flashbacks!”, he mumbled as he takes out the umbrella and starts his journey to the hospital which is just a few minutes away.
That’s when his phone rings.
“An unknown number?”, he was confused.
“Hello..is this Bharghav Menon?”, a familiar sound asked from the other side.
“Yes..and who are..”
“Sorry to inform you this news Sir, but your wife..”
His heartbeats just went up as the nurse didn’t complete the sentence.
“Please do come fast and take possession of the..”
The phone fell from his hands. So did the umbrella. He stood there like a goof, trying to register what just happened over the call. He couldn’t believe it. A part of him still says that it couldn’t be. It’s all a lie. When he’ll reach the hospital, she’ll be up from her bed, smiling cheerfully. And it’ll be all a part of her ‘ surprise plan’. But a part of him still stuck to the logical side. The side which he knew is correct.
His heart sank as reality hit him hard.
Parvati is no more. He just lost the love of his life. He wasn’t even besides her in her last moments of struggle. He betrayed her. He cried.
The rain made him cry even more.
An overload of emotions and disarrayed thoughts finally struck him. He winced in pain as he felt as if someone just ripped apart his chest. His breathing went uneven. Seizures and spasms took over. And then it dawned upon him.
As he collapsed, the vast kingdom of memories that he built, sipping tea, collapsed too. He could hear someone yelling out his name from a distance. But it didn’t matter now.
All he cared and prayed for is Parvati. And he would be meeting her in a while. At a faraway world, away from all the chaos and the well-defined world, they lived in till now.
Where simplicity is bliss. Where it’s called heaven.
The rain continues.
Everything slowly blurs out.
As I say “CUT and that’s a pack up!”, the entire set goes silent for a second before the spot boys come over and help the lead actor to get up and clean all the mud over him.
The fake rain around us stops.
The cinematographer looks at me and gives a thumbs up. I smile and go ahead to hug the lead actor who is visibly happy as well. After a few hugs and handshakes, I go back to my seat that says ‘DIRECTOR’ and take out my wallet.
Parvati still looked young in the photo that I always kept with me after she went away from me. Forever.
“I lost you 2 years ago to cancer. Still, you never left me alone. Your memories were enough for me to live till this day…. And here we are..”, I say as I look around the set. Everyone celebrating. Hugs and claps.
“.. completed a movie with your name as the title.”, I sigh.
Phew! Finally a post after so many days! As promised, I’m back as soon as Alegria ended. A lot of struggle went into this one. Writing after a long time has its own challenges. I’m not that satisfied with the end product but still…
It’ll slowly kick in.. the habit..the nuances and the flow. But now it’s time for some more ideas!
Have good time friends!✨