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Good bye


The bus hit a road block enunciating the roller coaster ride it was offering to its passengers. Inder's eyes opened up at the right moment to save his head from banging to the front seat, he swore in foul language berating the bus, driver, his driving, the roads and to all the reasons which compelled him to board this bus of all the things. He checked his watch to see that it was just 5.00 a.m. He looked out his window to see that the surrounding nature was just awakening from its slumber. The night of rain had refreshed the whole place and the smell of wet soil was mesmerizing. Inder wiped his glasses and put them on, gathered his sweater much tighter and decided to forgo his feeble attempts to rest on this bus from hell and decided to watch the beautiful morning passing through his windows instead.

After a few minutes the conductor was trying to awaken passengers reminding them that their destination is near, when he came near Inder, he asked the conductor at what time he will reach his stop. Conductor consulted his watch and informed that it will take half an hour to reach there. Inder mentally calculated the time needed to pack his bags and sat to watch the misty environment in all its glory.

By the time the bus reached his stop, he was all ready with his bags and was already near the door. As soon as he got down, he let out a breath of relief to have survived such a ride. "Oh am putting this in my blog" he thought with a smile.

He collected his bags and walked to place them on a stone bench, and then he noticed how deserted this place was. "Wow, looks like the bus stops mentioned in horror stories" he thought with humour.

Inder noticed that the one and only hotel in the god forsaken place was still not open. He checked his watch to see that he still had around 2 hours before his connecting bus came, and he desperately needed a cup of coffee to heat his frozen body. He imagined himself in the state of all those cartoons he watched as a kid where characters are frozen into a block of ice. He rubbed his palms together to heat them up and blew through them, but to no avail. The place chilled him to his bones. He searched all his pockets to find a single half burnt cigarette. "Okay, this is turning out just like somebody had written a script" he thought. He smirked at his imagination and lighted his cigarette with care. He drew a big puff and let it out, it made him feel like this is the last cigarette of his life. Well he thought "it kind of is one of the last cigarettes". After puffing away his cigarette in leisure, he sat down to wait for his connecting bus.

The morning was getting brighter and the misty fog was lifting up. The eyes of the photographer in him couldn't resist the beautiful scenery unfolding around him. He immediately took out his camera and started clicking away merrily at anything and everything. Everything was looking beautiful through his lens. At that moment his camera focused at the lone figure walking up to the bus stop with a huge bag hanging by her shoulder.

It looked like she was just appearing out of fog, like a heavenly apparition. He clicked the pictures and then brought the camera down, squinting in curiosity so that he can see the face of the apparition.

Her walk was stirring some buried memories at the back of his head, he felt like he was trying to remember some half forgotten dream dreamt on a lonely night. Her stance, her grace, the way she tucked that wisp of hair behind her ear, he knew it was very familiar to him. But why was it familiar?

She looked around the bus stop and realized that he was the only other person there excluding her. She looked suspiciously towards him and settled on the farthest bench from him. He kept staring at her trying to place her face and his constant stare had started to make her uncomfortable. He could sense that from the way she held tightly to herself and glancing at him repeatedly. He felt like a cheap villain of the cheap horror movie standing there and gaping at her. He turned his back to her and started packing his camera into its bag when the realization hit him like a punch to his gut.

It was her, he twirled back in a daze and looked at her more keenly to confirm. His mind was shouting "Its her, its her.."

His unfulfilled dream, his most cherished memory, his Bhumika, his "Bhumi". He again turned away from her, he didn't know what to do now. In his head he had imagined all kinds of scenario of how he will talk with her if and when he meets her again. But now, today when that imagination had materialized into reality, he had no hold on his feelings and no idea how he is going to react.

He took a huge breath and released it trying to calm himself down. And when his heartbeat returned to normal pace, he turned back towards her and when she glanced at him, he flashed a tentative smile at her. It looked like she got more suspicious at his smile and moved still further if it was even possible.

She noticed a group of 3 was walking towards the bus stop and she visibly relaxed. He felt like a jerk to have made her feel all scared and tensed. As the group sat at the other end of the bus stop, Inder collected his bags and moved to the bench near her. At that movement all her relaxation was thrown to wind and she tensed up like a tight wound up spring.

After depositing his bags he immediately approached her and stood in a open and friendly stance and from a comfortable distance from her so that he doesn't scare her more. Then he said "Hi there Bhumi, How are you doing"

Her eyes got more bigger with surprise. He could see she was trying to remember him. Even though he wished he could tease her more, but his impatience got the best of him and he blurted out "I can see you are not able to place me?"

She nodded apologetically with a smile and he said "Inder"

As if somebody had lit a lamp inside her, or was it the sun reflecting from her skin, he didn't know which but her face brightened up with a recognition and smile. She exclaimed with smile "Inder?? Oh my god, Inder is that you? I can't believe am seeing you after all this years. "

Inder felt like a huge burden was lifted off his chest after seeing her reaction. He had feared about her reaction but her obvious happiness made his heart swell with admiration towards her.

"Why couldn't I recognize you, and How did you recognize me??" She asked still in surprise.

He smiled knowingly and said "Well I have changed a lot in looks like this beard, the hairline has obviously vanishing fast while the girth is expanding much faster. Whereas you on other hand haven't changed much at all, you are more rounder than before, much longer hair now but nothing much difference that i cant recognize you"

 As if she immediately remembered the place they were having this reunion, she took a step back to settle herself and sat down on the bench. Inder sat beside her at a respectable distance, as he could see it mattered to her.

After a minute she asked "How many years...." and he answered before she finished the question "10 years..."

She smiled at the way he could still answer her half asked question.

After the initial wave of excitement washed over them, both of them sat there in silence trying to figure out what to talk now.

They looked at each other and gave a knowing smile. Inder broke the silence again and asked "So how are you Bhumi ? Husband ? Children... god i don't even know where you live now.."

She smiled at him understanding his exclamation about how much they have become stranger to each other and said "Am fine, life is fine, going to mom's house now to join the kids. What about you ? how is family ?"

"I am good, at least not bad... going to my friend's place for a holiday and no family to tell about their welfare"

"But I heard you are getting married.. and that was what.... around 6 years back??" she exclaimed in surprise.

Inder looked at her in surprise, his eyes were asking "So you are keeping tabs on me and yet stayed away" and she blushed in answer.

He answered with a sigh "Well that was true what you heard, but you didn't hear the most juicy part. My mom passed away just 3 days before the wedding and later my dad was convinced that my fiancée was a bad omen. So.........."

Bhumika said in a soft voice "Am sorry to hear about your mom"

Inder saw actual pain in her eyes and he knew he had to break this trance so he teased "Hey and what about my marriage. Not sorry about that ??"

Seeing her eyes immediately filled with guilt and blush raising to her cheeks he knew he had said the wrong thing.

Silence reigned again tensing up the air around them. Just then they heard a bus arriving. Both looked at each other with question in the eyes. Immediately both of them checked their watches. Inder still had another 45 minutes before his bus arrived or so he was informed. He knew there is no accuracy of bus time tables in small towns like this. He saw Bhumika's reaction and understood that even she thought the same thing.

The bus stopped near them and the conductor leaned out of the door shouting the destination. Both let out a sigh of relief and looked at each other and laughed. The remaining three people in the bus stop boarded the  bus. Inder looked back to see that the hotel had opened up. As the bus left he asked Bhumi if she would like to drink coffee.

She said in doubt "Well i know for sure that the coffee here is horrible but in this whether anything hot is heavenly. So .. why not"

Inder went to the hotel and bought back two coffees and two buns with it. The coffee was horrible and the bun was almost inedible but still the company was perfect.

In between bite Inder asked "Are you happy ?"

Bhumi looked at him once and got busy in eating. He knew she didn't want to answer, so he didn't press further. After finishing their coffees and buns, both started remembering old days for a few minutes and then again the silence took hold.

This time Inder was not ready to break the silence. After a few minutes Bhumi said "I got your letter a week after my marriage.."

Inder was shocked at the introduction of the forbidden topic. Something which he never said anybody and was sure he didn't want to discuss with her the details. But her exclamation stirred something in his heart, tugged at him and pulled his deepest emotions to surface.

He looked away from her and said "When I was away from you I realized what you are to me. But I was too late already. I wouldn't have sent that letter if I had known"

Bhumi immediately said "Don't say that. I am glad you sent that letter.. that letter was a confirmation of my own feelings"

Inder was surprised at her revelation and looked at her with questions and surprise in his eyes and Bhumi couldn't meet his gaze. She turned away and he knew he can't ask anything more about it. But his heart was eager to know more, he couldn't stop from asking "Do you mean that... you felt something for me??"

Right then they heard another bus arriving. Bhumi knew this was her bus, and by seeing her face even Inder knew that the stolen time they had got was at an end.

Bhumi  immediately took out a paper from her bag and wrote her number, she  turned to give to him and saw that even he was holding a chit of paper with his number. They both looked at each other and laughed. They exchanged their numbers and the bus stopped in front of them, the conductor got down and entered the hotel, while Bhumi collected her bag. Inder walked her to her bus and saw that she sat down comfortably.

They both had a thousand things to say to each other but still not a word passed through their lips. The silence between them spoke volumes but the eyes were searching for unexpressed emotions.

Finally the bus started to move and they said their goodbyes. Inder saw till the bus was no more visible to his eyes. He came back to his bags and sat with sagging shoulders and heavy sigh. He leaned forward placing his face in his hands trying to contemplate what happened there.

After a few minutes his bus arrived with all the gusto of a hell rider. Inder collected all his bags and went inside the bus. He found a window seat and he placed all the bags in the available space and sat down. But got up immediately to get the newspaper and maybe a pack of last cigarettes. Inder found cigarettes but the paper had still not arrived. He paid the shopkeeper and as soon as he boarded, the bus started to move and he saw the shopkeeper waving a paper in his direction. The conductor shoved him inside and closed the door.


Inder came back and sat in his seat. He took out his camera and started scanning the pictures he took. He looked at Bhumika's image where she looked like an outline of an apparition, for a long time. He suddenly realized what the shop keeper was waving at him. He frantically searched for the paper in which her number was written but he couldn't find it. He sat down in disappointment  and after a few minutes he started to smile. He thought with humour "Well it did turn out like a movie, just it was not horror....."

   



Comments

  1. To be frank..yesterday i woke up at 4.30, and i found your blog link, started reading from the mobile itself....and what a time to read about almost similar picture perfect sketching of the same time in the story as well...I could visualise everything...felt just like am next to Inder.

    The step by step pouring out of EQ is awesome, the heartbeats of Both Inder & Bhumi I could hear. The silence speaks volumes what a great phrase. Even though the climax is bit sad, but this sentences "Now he can remember her with smile and not pain" summed up all..and wiped out any -ve thoughts after reading this artcile..

    Nivi special bulls eye...!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for such beautiful response :)

      Delete
  2. I’ve learn a few just right stuff here. Definitely value bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how so much effort you set to make any such excellent informative website.

    ReplyDelete

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