Friday, December 9, 2016

Him.

"250" said the man behind the counter.
Gayathri fumbled through her purse and shelled out the money. It was almost 6 months since she came to Gurgaon. Still she couldn't believe the prices here. "250 for a coffee and cake." "My God" she thought. But what to do, she wanted a bit of snack then.
She turned back fondly thinking about the prices in Trivandrum and she unknowingly bumped into the guy standing just behind her.

Oh. sorry sorry sorry ...she muttered and looked up. She saw a guy... His face flushing the moment she looked at him. His blushing confused her and she literally ran out of the door.

"What a guy yaar. You would think he has not met any girls before. Unknowingly if you bumped into him whats there to be this embarrassed." Her colleagues remarked disdainfully. Somehow that remark disturbed her.

While walking back to the office for some reason she remembered her Appa. Her Appa had passed away three years ago. She remembered that day vividly. Somehow she knew that it was the end. Somehow she knew already. She was standing outside his hospital room staring straight ahead in her own world trying to come in terms with a possible world without him. She did not know what to do. Suddenly she felt somebody's eyes on her and saw a boy looking at her. It irritated her. Even at this time ...even at this time.... This is a hospital for god's sake. She thought. She remembered an incident where her Appa had almost taken his stick to chase a classmate who had been loitering outside their house and she smiled and then her eyes welled up.

She went in and sat near her father's bed. He was sleeping. Calmly... At least he is calm, she thought. At least there seems to be not much pain and there was yesterday. She took his hand and pressed it against her cheek."Appa... Appa ... she thought who will chase guys away now...How can I live without you? How can Amma live without you? How will I give her courage when my own is failing? Appa who will make me laugh like you do ? Appa ...Appa...."

"Its him"

"huh... what Appa???" Gayathri opened her eyes. Her father was looking at her fondly and smiled. Slowly his hand went over her head as if to bless her. Then he took a deep breath and went back to sleep. Her mother came and sat besides him then and Gayathri sat on the sofa looking at them both.

She wondered at the strength of her mother. Her mother was taking care of her father as if he was unwell and he will be ok soon. It was as if she wanted every minute with him in this world to count. She did not cry. she did not burden Appa with her sorrow. She just loved him. Almost like a child.

Her parents were not very demonstrative but in the last few months she thought she knew what love was. She wondered if she would ever find someone who loved her like her Appa loved her Amma...

Three years ago. How much things changed. She left Trivandrum. She came to Gurgaon. Got a job as a secretary.  She was glad. Her mom did not come with her. Maybe in a year or two she had said. Anyhow it was a different life altogether. And in a way she was glad of the distraction. It was very painful back home.

That evening while she was coming out of her office building she saw him again. "Oh he is in my office??? she thought. Her office was so big , she did not know half the people there. Anyhow it was only 6 months since she joined."

"Looks like a South Indian.  she thought and it piqued her interest.
ha... he is malayalee....
Hmmm wonder where is he from....
What a nice laugh he has...."

Suddenly he turned and looked directly at her. Now it was her turn to blush .She then walked straight to the cab. But in the rear mirror she saw he was smiling looking quite pleased about something.

********** 8 years later*******

"My God, why cant he give this shirt away???!!! Its faded and it has been washed so many times.
But no...her husband wouldn't hear of it. He valued that faded red shirt A LOT.

She folded it and kept it along with his other T shirts and looked at the boxes of items still to be unpacked form their latest move. He mother was also there. Both grandmother and grand daughter were looking at old photographs. How she would have loved if her father was there too. It had always pained her that she couldn't have his blessings. Her marriage somehow felt incomplete.

She looked at the photo of her father hanging on the wall. Her daughter Appu, was a splitting image of her grandfather. except for her laugh. That she got from her own father.

"Ammaama look at this small girl laughing. How cute she is looking na. Just like me."

Appu laughed happily. Gayathri's mother looked at the old photo in Appu's hands.

"Oh it is your mother only, Appaapa was making her laugh. Appaapa could make your Amma laugh every single time. even when she was very very sad when her dahlia plants died. No body could ever make her laugh like that"

"No no Ammamma. I have seen Amma laugh the same way in one more photo." Appu claimed and started rummaging the stacks of old photo graphs again. This time she bought up an old photo from her husband's stack of pictures, clicked durign one of the office functions ". It was a snap shot at Gaythri laughing. The person who was making her laugh was faced towards her and his face was not visible in the photo.

Gayathri wondered at who this person was who had made her laugh the same way as Appu claimed. and looked at the photo again. And instantly she recognized the red shirt he was wearing. She had just folded it and kept it inside the cupboard.

Suddenly she remembered her husband mentioning that he had seen her the first time in the hospital.
With a shock she looked at her father and his last words suddenly made sense to her"

"It's him"

Her hands unknowingly went to her head where her father had blessed her.

Her father had already blessed her , even before she had met Ajay.

Its him... Its Ajay.













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