“Stop”, I shouted. But she did not look back.
“Stop! Stop!” I kept on screaming but she did not stop. I had said something which I knew was irreparable. I sat hopelessly on the bus stand and tried calling her. But she did not pick up.
I got up and started walking towards my car and drove off to Bandra. I thought if I grabbed a drink, I might feel better. How could I not explain it to her? It was so simple. As I sat down, I called my friend to join me. My friend promised he will reach in the next half an hour. I ordered a drink. I felt someone standing behind me. I turned back and there she was standing again.
“Can I join?” she asked. She sat down beside anyways
“So since when you have been feeling?” asked she. I did not know how he could answer that.
“For a year. I am not in love with anyone else, trust me”
“I know that”
“You remember when you first called me. You told me that I am like the beast. Conceited and smug and you have changed me. But now, I…”
“Now you think I have nothing more to offer in our relationship?”
She was not crying when she asked this. But it pained me to see her face with so many question. I knew she would not be lost for quite some time
“No but I feel that I am changing again. I want to do this. I want to enroll myself for the program and I will not be able to accommodate our lifestyle.”
She sighed. She looked up and closed her eyes. I saw one tear slip by her eyes. “So this program is for how long?”
“I will be a teacher for 2 years and after that I can go to the smaller towns and villages and set up schools with other coaches. I am frankly very scared. I don’t know what I exactly will achieve from this. I have no clue.”
She looked at her hands and then looked at me. I gulped the whiskey down. God she was beautiful! I would not be able to tell her how much I loved her. That at this moment I wanted to take her by her waist and kiss her. I wanted to tell her that I still remember the day when I first saw her in the music concert.
“You know it is going to be tough. But how else will you see this country, for what it truly is. The lies that we live with in our cities and the reality out there. It is scary but I am more concerned that you will be more immersed in yourself than see what others seek”
The music started becoming louder.
“So what shall I do?” I asked timidly.
“About what? “She asked
She looked at me straight this time. “You must leave for what you intend to do. You cannot hold on to bereavement of something which has left your heart some time ago. You must go and do what is essential.”
“And you must go to New York.”
“Why can’t I be a part of this? A part of you”, she asked. She did not know she already was a part of this in more ways than she could imagine.
“Because you never were part of this dream.”
We drank quietly for some more time and talked some more. I never was comfortable about words such as love, soul and spirit and yet none of these words could make up for the kind of companion she was. She finally got up, kissed my cheeks and bid me farewell.
My friend came to me and sat down. I told him everything. “Dude why are you taking a decision for her. Let her decide if she wants to come with you.”
I was friends with her for three years and one day we went for a trek in Bheemashankar. We were tired of walking and found a huge rock where we sat. We were laughing hard on something and she kept her head on my shoulders. I think that feeling when a girl keeps her head on a man’s shoulder is indescribable. It makes a man feel that the world has just become a bit kinder to him. She played with my fingers and said “Rumi once said when you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”
My friend did not understand why I had taken such a haste decision.
“I had to take her decision because she took mine. She made me the person I intended to be. “
It has been three years since that day. In my little cottage today I can hear the frogs and the cricket. I keep thinking of my decision back then and it makes me wonder what she would be doing right now. I saw my phone ringing. It was from an unknown international number.
“Hello?” I answered hesitantly.
“Can you come to New York?”
I heard started beating faster and my throat went dry.
“You are in New York? Are you okay? I suddenly thought, ‘Is she is in trouble? Why suddenly is she calling me after so long?’
“No. I am fine.”
“Why are you asking me to come?”
“Because Rumi said lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along”
I stood there with my phone in my hands, the open sky and lanterns lit in the small cottages in front of me and her waiting for me on the other side of the world.