Her face looked the same as it was the time I had seen her first. I was amazed about how just in fraction of seconds I took down every detail. The locks tucked behind her ears, her cheek with a slight pinkish touch. Her beautiful deep eyes, they spoke so much, they led me inside her.
It was a frigid overcast day. Though I had caught some glimpses of the sun sometime in between but at that very moment there were only clouds hovering above. The bus was nearing and my heart almost stopped beating when I saw her. She sat still, on that very place. Her eyes were melancholic today; her emotions struck me somewhere deep. I wanted to ask the driver to stop, get down and hug her. I couldn't, I didn't. The bus crossed her and I just kept looking from the window. She sat still, absolutely motionless. I tried to put my head out of the window and through the corner of my eyes I saw hers'. Shedding a pearl like drop of tear. The bus sped and I got drenched in my memories.
Manish brought me back to life.
"The farewell was amazing. I will remember it throughout my life." He said.
I had just bid farewell to the love of my life I thought.
"Verma sir's speech was excellent."
I remained mum.
"What is with you?"
Manish asked when he noticed my lack of interest. I looked at him blankly, my throat dried. It was the first time I was narrating my love story to someone.
"Few months earlier..."
~The rains had just started. I was sitting beside the same window that day, looking outside at the sky which now had stopped weeping for a while. Maybe I was looking for someone, maybe it was her.
Lost in my thoughts my eyes fell on a roadside bangle stall. A girl almost about my age sat there. It was rather a temporary one, moveable on four wheels. On it she had neatly placed the bangles. A strand of hair fell over her face and she tucked it behind her ears. Her cheeks were red. And as the bus honked, she turned around revealing her eyes. Those with which I fell in love instantly. Soon she was out of sight leaving me to myself in the bus. I reached school, the classes commenced but it was impossible to forget those eyes.
I didn't find her there on my way back home and couldn't spot her the next day even. My thoughts about her gradually went down the well. It was again four to five days later that I saw her. This time she had a broom in her hand, sweeping off the dirt around the shop. Even in the swarm of dust she looked as beautiful as ever. Her lose hair hanging and one hand behind her. As the bus sped leaving a cloud of dust and smoke she covered her mouth with the rear end of the dupatta. I thought about her, she had a broom in her hand and I had books. I wished to find her in my school, right there near the window of my class looking out and tucking her hair behind her ear but she was not there.
The slow paced rains were heavy now. Time passed rapidly and my one sided love for her grew stronger and stronger. On my way to school I would sit by the window think of her, about what she might be doing, and sometimes about how ignorant she was about me.
The rains had just started that day, the clouds were joining hands and drops of rainwater hit the windowpane and through it I saw her, she was covering the bangles with a plastic. It was a moment. The bus halted and let a truck pass, as if especially for me. She looked up and her eyes met mine through the water droplets. My lips stretched releasing a faint smile and her eyes blushed as if she knew. My love for her had been expressed through my eyes. That extended halt had filled in the gap between us. Those few more seconds of the clock seemed like ages.
After the incident, she used to wait for me too. I would know. And would look up at me with a broad smile whenever the bus passed. It was strange, we never talked, physically. Our eyes did it for us. And sometimes I would show her my book, indicating about my exams and she would follow up with thumbs up sign wishing me best of luck. Sometimes she would show me her new glass bangles which she had put on. The jingles would fill my ears for the rest of the day.
I would miss her during Sundays and holidays. And I would wish to ride my bicycle for the full ten kilometers and land up before her. I could, but I never did.
One day during early winters she was missing, so was the shop. Next day said the same story. I got restless, I wanted to see her, her eyes, her locks, I was worried. Finally after five long days I saw her again with the shop. The bangles had reduced in number.
Her eyes narrated a sad story but I was ignorant then. She held her ears, she was sorry for her absence and I thought she meant it, she did and I had to give in.
The winters progressed and my time at school was gradually decreasing. I feared that I would lose her but I kept all those dark thoughts down and continued my journey with her.
In the freezing cold mornings, amidst the fog I could see her standing, sometimes without warm clothes. She would smile although as if it was too painful for her, as if stretching the rear ends of the lip was the most painful job. But she did with tear drops in her eyes. I could see, however hard she tried to cover them with her blanket of smile.
I never knew the reason behind them. I wished I did.
Time did its job again and my school days ended with the beginning of preparatory leave. I longed for her. In my books, out on the road I saw her face but not that smile. It ceased mine too. Sleepless nights. Dull days. And more sleepless nights. And time again. I was getting ready for my farewell day.~
Every word that left my mouth struck an arrow straight at my heart. My face became wet, like it had never been.
When I ended, it was Manish's face that had lost color.
"She has no mother and her father is a drunkard who beats her up every day."
As I heard him say those words, I wished I wouldn't have said anything. The bus paced. I thought of her again, spoken unspoken she had said many things. I didn't even know the first letter of her name but our love was inseparable.
Next day the local newspaper's headline read, "Drunkard father, kills daughter."
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try better. keep going.