I sat down on the bed with the letter in my hand. It was completely unexpected... I had always loved movies with a twist, those mystery,thriller movies which keep you guessing whats coming up next.The irony is that we enjoy those moments ,as long it happens to someone else,when we too are in the same boat, its to thrilling to enjoy the thrill. I never imagined in my wildest dream that my life will be taking a twist like this. And to top the icing on the cake, this day has to be on my birthday.
It was now 9:45. Then my eyes fell on the mobile which lay off. I recalled that i was going to charge it yesterday when i got the damn letter. I switched it on and put it on charge. After the start up tune,the phone came to life. There were a series of beeps, signalling the receiving of messages. Messages from my friends and well wishers who will be wishing me happiness,joy and a long life... Long life !! 20 seems to be a long life indeed...
I kept the phone in my bed and went near the window. A cool breeze of air was blowing. It was so soothing ,so serene so as to engulf me in its arms. Only that i didnt feel like enjoying any of these. I felt i would have been happier if i would have cried. Strangely enough i wasnt crying. Maybe,i have been always taught that no matter what happens in your life, no matter how many stones you get, no matter how bad the life treats you,your life is in your hands. There is always something positive , you only have to keep your eyes open.
Since, i had seen Dasvidaniya, a Bollywood movie, in which the movie's protagonist gets to know that he will be dying in 3 months. He makes a list of 10 things which he has always dreamt of doing. Basically, he fulfills his wish list and dies peacefully. Well, in my case i didnt have that option too. It was more a fast track Dasvidaniya in my case. Not 3 months but 24 hours....
People say its wiser not to reinvent the wheel. i thought of doing what our Dasvidaniya hero had done. Making a list of things which i want to do most. Since, i was the youngest child of my parent's 3 children, i was confident that they will be taken care by my elder brothers. Then, i wanted to pursue higher studies, for which the time i had was not sufficient, so that goes off from the list. Then... The challenge here was that i had everything i wanted.
My parents had ensured that i was well taken care in that regard. So what else... I was musing on that, when my Phone went off... "Tujh me rab Dikta hai,...." - the melody song from "Rab ne Bana di Jodi" movie. It had to be her. I had kept that ring tone for her calls. The irony here was the fact that "Rab" had given me a visit few hours back, so the word "Rab itself (meaning God)" brought jitters to me.
Anyhow, i picked up the phone and came the fresh voice of her - "Happy Birthday Arvind. God Bless You." I was tempted to answer "Well he has", but then thought the better of it and mumbled a thanks.
She asked me - "Where were you yesterday night. I kept on calling your mobile but it kept saying the receiver phone is switched off. What happened ?
I explained that my cell phone charge had died down and the current had gone out. I put the phone on charge now only."
Oh, ok fine. So whats the plan for today...
I thought " Well, pack up my bags for the trip". But said - I dont know. Have to be at home, i suppose. Ma has some plans.
Oh, ok. I wanted to meet you for sometime. Tell me if you can meet me today. [We had an understanding about my birthday.I had told her before that on my birthday we usually go to visit my grand parents, then temple, then orphanage.She respected my plans and didnt push me much on it]
But the last thing i wanted to do was to meet her. I knew that i wont be my normal self if i meet her today. So i wanted to avoid meeting her at all cost.. I said - Hey, Ma calling me. Will call you shortly.
OK, Wish you a Blessed Day.Sweet Kisses,saying so, she kept down the phone.
I clutched the phone close to my heart. A tear ran down my face. I knew that the only thing i wanted to do was to meet her. And bless her for a fruitful and a happy life. If i could have any wish fulfilled today, i would wish for a happy life for her. If not with me, then with someone who would love her with all his heart and give the world to her. I called her again.
Hey, whats up, she asked.
I said - How about meeting at the coffee shop, at 4pm ?
Wow, Thats so nice of you. See you soon.
I got up from the bed and starting getting refreshed. Then i put my favourite dress and went down. Papa had left early regarding his business. Mama was reading a book. As soon as i came down, she got up and planted a huge kiss on my cheek. God Bless you , my sweety. Papa said sorry about not being able to be at home today.He has some important meeting with his clients today. He told me to wish you on his behalf..
Thanks Mom i said bringing up a smile.
Come on, have your breakfast now. I have made your fav dish today .
I had few morsels and got ready to go to grandparents place.My grand parents were also ready in the home by the time we reached there. I took their blessings and grandpa/ma gifted me a gold chain, Grandma said it will make me more handsome. Grandma was always like this. Nowadays she has taken to giving lectures on finding a suitable girl for me. It will be sometime before it actually happens,but i suspect that she was the real reason for making love blossom in my heart. Due to her persistence talking,i had began to get thoughts that maybe its not bad to have a girl friend. Thats when i met my dream girl and whatever happened next is all known. It was 3 pm now. We started to the temple to offer prayers to our family god. Ma and grandparents prayed for a long life for me. I could only laugh at the irony of it. Then i bid my grandparents and Mom adieu and told them to proceed to the orphanage as i had some other work to do.
It was close to 4pm when i reached the coffee shop. She was already waiting for me there. Very much like her. Always on time, sometimes before time too. She gave me a hug and a short kiss and wished me happy birthday. We took our usual place in the coffee shop, the corner one with a small pool nearby it.
Do you remember our first date, in this coffee shop, i asked her.
Yes, how can i forget. You were blushing redder than a carrot.-She said.
I wasnt blushing. - i said back.
No. You were.. , she said.
We spend some time remembering the times, reliving the memories of our being together. Then she gave me a present. It was a triangular glass crystal with a red heart glowing inside.
I looked in to her eyes and gave her a smile. We just kept looking at each other.I had read somewhere that the closer people feel to each other,the lesser they need to talk. Emotions have a way of expressing and i think we understood each other perfectly well. I think she must have guessed that something was bothering me.
Whats the matter,Arvind - she asked.
Nothing dear, i replied. Trying hard not to lose control.
No, something is there. You can tell me - she said.
Do you love me - i asked.
I love you more than i love myself - she replied.
Iam very lucky in that regard. But i want you to promise me something. - i said.
What do you want me to do - she asked.
Promise me that you will love yourself more than me. Promise me that you will be happy no matter what happens.Promise me that you will carry on in your life and take care of yourself. I felt like a fool telling the above things. Yet, the only reaction i got from her was a strange stare. Not the stare again. She gives these kind of stares when its like she knows what Iam up too. Well, iam sure she wouldnt have known this, know about what had happened to me 24 hrs back.
She slowly replied -
Arvind, i dont know what to say. I never imagined that i will meet a person like you, and i consider myself lucky for that. Yet i want you to promise me the same things which you have asked me. Can you promise me that ?
I was tempted to tell her about what had happened 24 hrs back, that by tomorrow i wont be in this green earth. but i didnt want to scare her off. The last thing which i wanted to see on my last day was see her crying. I just smiled and shook my head. I found it hard to see that she was saying my dialogues. 'That she wanted the best for me'. Something was bothering her, but since i wasnt a good mind reader as her,i was left guessing about her botherations.
It was close to 7pm.The waiter came,kept the bill and went back. Its my treat for you, saying so she paid the money.
Well, time to say good bye - i said.
seems so. Wish you a long and a Happy life. Saying so, she left.
Iam not sure if i saw it, but i think i saw a tear in one of her eyes. Someone had said that If there is one thing which is unpredictable in this world, you can be damn sure it will be the girls. I pushed my chair and was about to get up,when i saw she had left her handkerchief in the table. I reached across to take the kerchief. Something white in color fell down. It was a letter. It opened it and it read:
This is to inform you that your life validity expires in 24 hours.....
Epilogue:Thats the way she was. Not only she didnt show her sorrow to me, but to keep me happy on my birthday she acted as if nothing had happened. No wonder my instincts had always told me "She was the one for me".
P.S: I would like to thank my friend Naveen for giving me the story idea. Hope you enjoyed it.