Friday, January 28, 2011

The HoneyMoon - Some Things Never Change (Like Love)

As the evening progressed, grey clouds had begun gathering on the horizon, with warnings of an impending downpour hanging around in the gloomy atmosphere. Kavita had returned an hour earlier from office and sat there in the balcony staring at the eerie orange glow exuded by the setting sun enveloped in the clouds. A strange feeling of excitement and trepidation clutched at her heart as she thought of the developments of the afternoon. She gave a start as she heard Samir entering the apartment. He headed straight for the balcony, perturbed.
“Not feeling well? You left pretty early today. I was just busy in a conference call, else I would have accompanied you.”
“I’m ok. There’s something I need to talk to you about.” She spoke almost too fast. Samir sat down next to her and held her hands. “What’s it dear? You look so flustered. Hope everything’s all right.”
“Well, it is and it isn’t. You know I wouldn’t have known how to broach this subject if it hadn’t been for last week. We have become so close to each other since then, I know you will understand.”
“Come on. Don’t talk in riddles. Tell me what happened.” Samir said, really concerned by now.
“You know last week while Pathak was in Mumbai as his wife was not feeling well, he also had a meeting with a customer there. It was to finalize a deal for the .net implementation for this customer and today they announced that we have won the deal and I’m leading the project.”
“Wow! And you had me so worried all this while. That’s really good news. You’ve been waiting for this opportunity for the last one year after you got your certification. See how lucky I am proving for you.” Samir joked, feeling relieved.
“The first phase is in Lucerne for six months.”
“Oh! And you are worried about what I will feel about you staying away from me so soon after our marriage. Look we accepted that this is going to be part of our job when we decided to get married to each other. So this is not something unexpected. So when do you have to go?”
“10th May.”
“WHAA…..!!! How is that possible? That’s just the day after our marriage. Come on. You can surely extend it till at least after our honeymoon. I’ve made all the arrangements. You can’t be serious about this. Go on. Tell them you’ll be there after another ten days.”
“I’ve already spoken to them. There’s no extending the date. Actually I was supposed to start immediately, but they did consider our marriage date and agreed to the 10th as the last date I can start. You yourself know how much I wanted this project. But at this time…”
“Hold on.” Samir brightened a little, struck by an idea. “We can still have our honeymoon. My leave still stands. I’ll just change the tickets and instead of Darjeeling, we’ll both go to Switzerland.”
It was Kavita’s turn to be surprised. “Are you sure that’s a good idea? I mean the project will be just kicking off then. Can you manage that?” “Sure I can. We’ll get at least one weekend to ourselves.” “Oh Samir. You’re great. I’m so happy for us.”

………..

The trouble began on the second day of their trip. The marriage had been hectic. The rites ended quite late and they left almost immediately for the airport after preparing for the early morning flight. On reaching Lucerne, Kavita had rushed off to office after freshening up, leaving Samir to settle down in their hotel room. She returned in the evening totally exhausted and feeling the jet lag only now. Both of them were too tired to go for any sight seeing that evening and ordered their food in the room.
The next day after Kavita left for office, Samir tarried for a while in the hotel and then set about exploring the environs. He had been in Zurich for a project earlier and was taking in the similarities that Lucerne had. Samir was in high spirits and was eagerly awaiting the weekend when they could go around together for two whole days. He was already planning the schedule and route they would take. He returned to the hotel in the early afternoon as he couldn’t make himself go around those beautiful sights alone. He wanted Kavita to share every moment every experience with him. Kavita was facing a tough time at office as the project team had already run into some rough patches in the earlier week when she wasn’t around. She returned quite late to find Samir loitering in the lobby waiting for her. “Hi Samir. Tough day at work today. I am going to have to redo the entire work the team has done last week. You know we found….” “Hey Kavita. Let’s not discuss work at least on this trip. I’ve been waiting for you to come back so we could have gone around at least in the evening. You know the lake area is really beautiful and there are some really good spots we must take in before the weekend, as we will be out of Lucerne the whole weekend.” “I really don’t feel like going out now Samir. After the day I have just had, I just want to relax a bit.”
From that point on, things just went downhill for them. The next three days they found themselves griping over small things, getting into each other’s way and there were a few hours they were not even talking to each other. Samir was caught up in his frustrations of being in such a romantic place but having to wander around alone. That too on his honeymoon. The poet in him just couldn’t help but marvel at the irony of the situation. And that depressed him even further. Meanwhile Kavita couldn’t help but wonder what had come over Samir and why he was behaving in such a boorish manner. There was hardly any communication between them that week. Samir used those three days to make day trips to nearby Bern, Zurich & Basel. Kavita had taken full charge of the project by now and discovered some major gaps in the design that she had to re-do by the end of that week. It looked like she would have to use up the weekend just to bring the project back on track. When she returned to their room at night, Samir would be immersed in a book or would be writing some notes. Kavita did not dare ask him if that was a glimpse of poetry she saw him writing one night.
On Friday evening, Samir returned very early from the Rhein fall near Schaffhausen in a more melancholy mood than ever. The beauty of the falls contrasted so deeply with the anguish going on inside his mind. The mist from the falls, the nature around, the lovely bridge over the river had all conspired to make him miss Kavita who should have been there by his side at that moment at that spot. He entered the empty hotel room and lay down in a stupor neither asleep nor awake, the turmoil of the last three days taking a toll on his senses.

At 4 p.m. in the evening, Kavita emerged from the last meeting of the week with Janderb, the project owner from the client’s side. There was still a good day’s work to be put in before the design could be signed off with them on Monday morning. It was the weekend and the client’s office had started emptying out. “Have a nice weekend” – Rosa, Jan’s secretary cooed on her way out. Kavita threw a “You too” in her direction pre-occupied with her task list. There was a lot to do in those next two days before she could face Janderb on Monday. When she rose after another half an hour to get herself a coffee, there were hardly two or three stragglers left in the office. The emptiness of the place got to her and resonated within. She wanted to cling on to Samir’s arm and wanted him beside her at that moment at that spot. She discarded the coffee and left the office.

When she entered their room, she saw Samir lying on the bed facing the window. His eyes were closed and he seemed to be asleep. She sat down beside him and ran her fingers through his hair. Samir shifted on his side and nestled his head on her lap. He opened his eyes a few moments later only to look up into Kavita’s moist gaze. The turmoil of the past few days, the anguish & misunderstandings, the harshness said and unsaid between them all melted away in the stream of tears that now flowed freely from her eyes. Samir got up to wipe the dampness from his eyes as well. There was no need for words any longer. That touch, that look, that feeling pervaded both of them.

They went out for dinner at the Stadtkeller that evening. When Kavita laid out the plans for the weekend trip to Lugano & Interlaken, Samir started protesting. “But what about your w….”
“Shhhhh ….” Kavita cut him off. “Another time…. another day”
.
.
.
.
A week after Samir had left to resume his work in India, she received a letter from him. She smiled as she saw that he had finally completed the poem she had seen him writing one of those nights.

As she stepped out into the balcony and read out aloud the words within, she could feel his presence beside her at that moment at that spot.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Mere haathon mein tera haath ho
Aur jeevan bhar ka saath ho

Tere thirakte labon ko
Mere hothon ki talaash ho
Meri pyaasi nazron ko
Teri eik zhalak ki aas ho

Aao eik aise atoot bandhan mein
bandh jaaen hum tum,  tum hum
ke janam janam ka saath ho,
aur phir milne ki baat ho…

Tere dil ke eik kone mein basi
jab meri hi yaad ho…
to phir mere mashook tum,
baithe kyon udaas ho

Ho aaj tum mujhse duur to kya,
Kal itne karib aa jana
Ke mein tujhme samaa jaaun
Aur tum mujhme samaa jaana

Hoge jab tum paas mere to
Honge haseen yeh din saare…
.. aur jawan who eik raat ho.

2 comments:

  1. Hey ...good reading ! Enjoyed the story n poetry ..regArds YAL ( Yakub Lokhandwala )

    ReplyDelete

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