“how many times will I tell you to pack those chappals?” yelled mom, ”in two days you have to cook and clean on your own, I wont be there to pick after you, start doing you own thing from now only” she continued gruffly brushing aside a tear that threatened to spill.
“Why are you scolding the poor girl, she is leaving tomorrow, so let her enjoy the few moments. Don’t be too harsh. I looked up and smiled, I knew mom was missing me already so she was inventing things to fuss over me. Dad too is acting brave, it must be hard for them to let me go after all I have always been home for the past 21 years. But they will get used to it. they will have to,I smiled ruefully and ironed the shirt what seemed the millionth one, before keeping it in a pile near the open suitcase.
Flashes of memory came back. It seemed like just yesterday I walked out of school for the first time never looking back,closing the door to my childhood forever.then there was college and friends... and the past year of agony and then the day when the letter came and I was selected and I had to leave my hometown and study outside the city. The mixed feeling of jubilation and heavy gloom pulled me down and under as if in a vortex. It was once in a life opportunity yet the fact I was leaving behind my aging parents and my guy made it even more difficult. My eyes watered immediately but I checked myself, I knew if I break down they all will. I have to go and after all I ll be coming back in every holiday and now and then. And after all it’s a matter of two years. Forcing my mind onto other things, I picked up the list and ticked off the items I have got, it is then that the bell rang and in walked samik, ashen face gripping something rather nervously.
“thank god mom and dad gave up ‘what will the world say if your guy not even you fiancé come over, not really a done thing’ rant and for once they understood that I needed to have samik around.” I thought and gave him a smile that I could muster, “hey you are late yet again? Weren’t u supposed to drop down before? you‘ll never change”, I said playfully and gave him a mock punch, which he didn’t even bother to defend “hope you, rather ‘we’ don’t change too” he muttered. “hey not fair! you know its never like that between you and me, you are making this tough for me.” I argued. Mom sent the servant with two cups of coffee while samik took his cup and languidly stretched himself on the edge of the bed while I went on with my list. With utmost love and care I packed the teddy he had given me on new years eve, his letters and cards: suddenly I was overcome with emotion.i reached over and hugged him tight.
“oh!how I am gonna miss you and you hugs! i cant imagine you not there when I need you the most. what will become of us?” for a moment I forgot to be the tough one for everyone including him, but I was surprised when I felt his hand on my head and the gentlest of caress. No words on silences that spoke. I knew he meant we’ll survive this…we had already done for the past few years and we’ll do it for the next two.
“did you take the cam??i just charged it….” And in walked dad….”ahem! well…” we sprang apart as if struck by lightening. ”ah! baba?? will you take a picture of us ??please..” I almost begged him silently, I knew how wary dad was of samik and how despite being a conservative guy he was making an effort on my behalf to make this work.” yeah sure…wanted you to test the cam once before you went…scoot together you two and smile…”
“photo session and that too without us!!” that was my childhood pals, who had dropped in to help me pack….another few rounds of pictures were taken. Mom,dad,dada and my servant was pulled and loads of beautiful moments were captured. with every hour it was getting even tougher and the knot was tightening even more.
In the evening my aunts and uncles and other relatives trooped in to bid me goodbye. it was one chaos with everyone wanting to speak to me, who in all of my 21 years never bothered about my existence and I on the other hand wanted to speak to that man who stood gloomily at one corner, watching my every move. Our eyes met across the room and I smiled unable to talk and he gave me one ghost of a smile. In an hour or two I managed to sneak on to the terrace with a bottle of cold drink pulling samik in tow. Only dad saw us leave but never commented.
We spent the last few hours chatting like old times on the moon light washed terrace .many a time I broke down and so did he. No words were spoken arms that clinged to one another. We knew we had to part but only to meet again…we would for sure, for we were destined to be together.
In the wee hours of the morning we come down. Mom and dad are resting. Soon it will be morning and samik and I wont be able to share these few private moments. Making some coffee we sat on the veranda waiting for the inevitable, trying to hold on to the time which was slipping by. He pulled me close and I cherished his warmth and his touch, yes his touch…I closed my eyes savoring it, capturing it in my mind… the leaden feeling like a knife twisted in my gut painfully… I just couldn’t take it. Soon it would be time to go. Final good bye will be said and I ll be on that flight that will take me to that promised land which will establish me. I was falling deeper and deeper into that whirlwind that threatened to overpower and drown me. I try desperately to hold on, cling will all my life to samik’s hand which was slipping away, the tip of his fingers slipped and I knew I was lost. calling out over and over again for mom,dad samik…faces blurred and voices faded away….
I sat up suddenly, moving the blanket from my face. I looked around, sweating profusely, taking deep breaths “ it was just a dream! its ok! I will be fine!” relief washed over me. Gloom came back to haunt me as I realized that this will happen in an year and half years time, and I better get used to it. I pushed aside these unwanted thoughts and bounced off my bed to wash up and make some tea for me for breakfast and to check on mum,dad, if they were up.