Dec 20th, 2013
Shimla, H.P, India
She opened eyes in maze
Debris – dust – she saw everywhere
Cries – screams – she heard.
Broken roads – collapsed buildings – smashed vehicles everywhere.
She ran holding her little baby.
She ran whispering prayers.
She kept falling down on the fragmented soil but stood up every time and ran.
She ran ignoring continuous calls on her phone.
It took her more than an hour to cover a distance of half kilometer as she could not find roads but wreckage everywhere. She reached her location and looked around for familiar faces but there was crowd of unknown rescuers.
She heard the ambulance siren and saw police vans.
She saw people sitting on the trash and cursing their fate.
With thick tears and heavy voice she screamed “Vishaaaal”…….. but there was no response.
She screamed his name several times and kept looking around but did not hear “I am here” from any direction.
Sun had started setting in and she was completely clueless about her husband. Suddenly she had a blurry vision of a tall body in yellow t-shirt coming towards her. She had seen this t-shirt earlier. She walked towards that person.
They saw each other with tearful eyes. She held him on his biceps and her eyes asked for help. So did his.
A man and a woman, who had barely ever talked, started walking together.
18 months later
“How much for the juice?” She asked the juice vendor.
“60 Rs” came the reply.
She took out her purse to pay the money.
“Hey… Hi!” she looked in her left side upon hearing this and was surprised to see the face.
He: “Are you…??”
She: “Nan… Nan… Nandita”
He: “Yeah… Nandita…So do you remember me?”
She: “Of course I do… You are Kunal- Kairav’s father and… Tanvi’s husband.”
He: “Yeah…. So how are things with you?”
She: “All well… How about you and how is Kairav?”
He: “Oh he is doing very well.”
He: “So do you work in Lower Parel?”
She: “Well, I came here for an interview.”
He: “Oh! That’s really nice.”
~~~~And his phone rang~~~~
He: “Pardon me but this call seems to be important.” He saw the phone screen and picked up the call.
“Hello” he said on the call and quickly took out his card holder from his pants pocket.
“This is my card… We should catch up sometime. Bye!” He murmured and left.
“Bye!” She said and kept watching him go for next few seconds and read his card.
“Senior Brand Manager – L’Oreal India Pvt Ltd.”
Soon he vanished from her sight and she headed back home.
2 months passed by and the visiting card that Kunal had given to Nandita kept lying in the same handbag. She did change her handbags often but never bothered to look at Kunal’s card. Precisely, she had forgotten about it until the day they met again….. And this time Nandita saw Kunal. Both of them were crossing road from opposite sides. Kunal did not see her as he was talking with a male colleague where as Nandita was crossing the road alone and saw him. But before she could even think about greeting him, he had already crossed. Now they were again standing at the opposite sides. She kept taking glances at him from her place. Kunal borrowed his friend’s cigarette and puffed a few times while talking. Completely unaware of Nandita’s presence around him, Kunal took a cab and left. Nandita stood there watching him leave, called a taxi and left.
Few more days passed by. Kunal and Nandita both were busy with their life. It was destiny that had made them meet after a year and half but that small meeting had not left any impact on either of them. They were living life as it is. So destiny again played its card right and they met… once again in a mall in Lower Parel.
“Hey! How are you!” again there was a voice from Nandita’s left side. In the fraction of a second, her mind imagined Kunal and there he was, smiling at her.
“Hi! What a pleasant surprise. How come you are here?” she smiled at him and asked.
“Well, I was in the same store and saw you from there.” He pointed at the exit. “We have a product launch event after two days so I had come here to buy cufflinks and a new tie for myself.” He elevated his shopping bag to show her.
“That’s nice. All the Best for the launch” Nandita smiled and paused as she had nothing else on her mind to continue the talk.
“Are you done with your shopping?” Kunal asked. “Would you mind having a cup of coffee with me?” And he pointed at the café just opposite the store.
“Ummm… Sure! Just let me get the billing done.” Nandita said.
to be continued…