A Journey of Words
There it was, sitting on my white and pink bed-sheets, waiting for me to touch it, to notice what it had in store for me. Its bright-red leather cover was inviting me to reach for it. But the butterflies in my stomach were telling me to postpone this much awaited moment a bit more, and I just kept staring that Diary longingly.
It was past 11pm on the night of 7th February, 2013; one of the coldest nights of Shimla city. For me, the past 2 days had been full of surprises, excitement and nervousness. He had called me up yesterday evening. After a tiring day at office, it was tea-time for me at home and I was relaxing a bit. Just then I heard my cellphone playing “My Heart Will Go On-Titanic’s Instrumental version”. I picked up my phone casually, looking for the name of caller. “Dr.Prem”….!!!! “What?.... How?” My mind screamed loudly, and for some seconds I could only stare at the name of the person who was calling me. I had been waiting for him since almost two years now, and now when I was on my way of losing all hopes, he had called me up out of the blue. Managing to keep my voice confident, I had answered his call.
“Hello Ms.Chahat. How are you?”
“I am fine. How are you doing?”
“I am also fine Chahat (ji).”(Short pause from both sides)
He broke the slight uneasiness reflected in the break, “Umm…Chahat ji. I have called you up for an important work. Can you please meet me sometime tomorrow?”
“Yes, sure I can. But there is a hitch. I remain busy in my office during day time and in the evenings I do not know how much time I’ll have in hand.” Oh I was so desperate in my heart to say yes without even blinking my eyes. But, experience had told me to be careful at listening to your heart. So, I preferred listening to my mind’s voice instead.
‘Oh. Maybe you can spare sometime for me during the lunch-break? Even fifteen-twenty minutes are sufficient. But day after tomorrow will be too late. So, do meet me tomorrow itself please!”
“Umm….ok. I have lunchtime from 1pm-2pm. We can meet in lunch-break at some café near my office then.”
“Yes, that will be perfect. Just give me the location of café and your office.”
So, I gave him the requisite directions and promising to meet the next day, we ended our short call. Now, if you are wondering what connection my red-diary had with this call, I must tell you that diary made its way to me, through this phone call only!
My scheduled meeting with Dr.Prem made me ensure that I wore one of my best looks, as I wanted to look and feel beautiful in front of him. I had decided my look for that day the night before only. It didn’t matter then, what HE FELT for me or what was I to him. Even if he took me just as a patient, my strong feelings for him, wanted him to think of me as a beautiful, honest girl at least. I had loved him since a long time, and his absence did not help much in weakening the intensity of that feeling. The moment I heard his voice, my heart had skipped a beat once again, just like old times. Just like before, I was confused what term should I use, while talking to him: Dr.Prem (sounded way too formal), Doctor Sahab (but he was too young for that, at least for me), Prem ji (No way!!), Sir (he was my Yoga Trainer also). So, I did what seemed to be best way out again, use no term! Though in my mind, I call him “Sir”.
Today, I met him in lunch time. He looked the same, as vibrant and handsome as ever. “How the hell does he manage to look younger every time I meet him” I thought. We had a quiet, peaceful lunch. The whole while he took updates from me about my new job, my health, my life and my daily Yoga routine. After all he was the one who had introduced and taught me the basics of Yoga. Now, only twenty minutes were left for the lunch time to be over and I was still pondering over the purpose of our unexpected meeting. Then, he gave me something.
“Here, I brought something for you” he said sliding a gift-wrapped rectangular box towards me.
Looking at the gift like thing he was giving me, I looked back curiously at him. “Is it a gift? You brought this for me??”
“But…..you’d said you had an important work. Is this the one??” I asked him, confused by now.
“Yes, Chahat (ji). When you will open this box, and go through its contents completely, you will know what I want from you. But I want a reply from you tomorrow only, if that is possible.” He replied smilingly..
“Oh….okay, no problem. I will go through this.”, and so we bade goodbyes, but not before he’d told me that he would wait for my reply,
So, here I was back at my home, looking at what he had given me. By now I had understood that this meeting was certainly not for a professional work. So I decided to save the best for the last part of the day….or should I say night!
I still remember few minutes back, when after carefully opening the gift-wrapped box, I’d taken out the contents. I was surprised at the red-rose looking out for me from atop this red-diary. It was fixed along with a note which read: “Happy Rose Day”; and after reading it I couldn’t help but smile. My first rose, on Rose Day given by the one I loved the most! But my smile had soon given way to a pang of nervousness, and now I was coaxing my excitement to win over my nervousness, to see what treasures were in store for me in that diary. You know what happened next…I let my excitement win!
So, getting onto my bed, covering my lap with warm quilt, I let my hands feel the red leather, for me this diary was not just another lifeless thing at that moment. It was exuding with my love’s warmth, its trueness.
With shaking hands, I opened the diary and read the first entry.
12th April, 2011
I am speaking to you for the first time, but I didn't saw a combination this strange before in my life. She is sweet, obedient, also good-looking and of her own kind! When I saw her the first time didn't think much of her. After all, she is just another patient, just another student, and no more does she matter. She wears specks, and is short in height like me. She has wheatish complexion, appears timid & non-confident, so much about her yet is unlike me. Peculiar circumstances led me to teach her alone. But this proximity ignites fire between us, as if on rubbing of two stones. I think I have started noticing her….and how!
Here I was somewhat stunned by the fact that he had noticed me. All these months, since the time I remember being aware of my feelings for him, in my heart I had always wanted him to notice me at least. I wanted him to like me, wanted that he also experience what I used to feel in those moments. It would have made those memories even more special. My lips had curved slightly in a smile, and my mind wanted to dance in a “Hurray” mood. But, “Wait, my name is not mentioned here till now!” I thought; therefore now I was even more anxious to reach this diary’s last entry fast. So, I flipped the page to read further.
Second Entry: -
16th May, 2011
Its been over a month now and here in Shimla, its just the start of summers. Do you remember our last conversation? I had mentioned the entry of a new girl in my clinic then. Her name is Chahat. I have a few new things to tell you, about her and me. I do not know what attracts me to her when she is with me. No, I don’t love her yet, and I am not too sure of my likings also. But there is something between us, some bond.
To tell you the truth, I haven’t met someone like her before. Outwardly, she appears to be a modern yet traditional at heart kind of a girl. Our unique arrangement of class makes it inevitable to spend one-two hours daily together.Does this mere fact make us any more vulnerable to “opposites attract” feeling? Maybe no; I like her confidence in me and herself for assenting to join the class as a lone student, with a lone teacher, in our small clinic during the less busy hours. But I also like it when as a girl her eyes & body reflect her being conscious and hesitant to imitate, learn various ‘yogic asanas’ in-front of me. During those few moments, other than a trainer, I become a person of opposite gender, about her own age; with whom she is all alone and barely knows well enough. Thus, she ought to be aware of herself and her surroundings. At such moments, I feel it is my duty to soothe her feminine fears by my actions, by keeping myself away from her physically. But do you think, it may seem strange to her that a Yoga Trainer is correcting her by mere verbal instructions, and doing quite a remarkable job too!
That’s it for now. Will keep you updated. Ta-ta.
Oh Sir, it was this sensitive side of yours which made me fall, in the well of your love. You understood me, my thoughts, my fears, this was all I needed then. Boy, am I curious to know, if he also loved me, reciprocated my inner desires!
29th May, 2011
I think I actually look forward to my daily routine with Chahat now. ;-)
I had read so much of Prem ji’s personal thoughts of me. Deeply immersed in those thoughts and my own reactions, I flipped through pages. But, numerous blank pages greeted my eyes afterwards. Frantically turning the pages fast enough to make a new record, my mind told me, there has to be a new entry. He cannot leave it incomplete; and soon I was smiling again. He had saved wishes for me on every occasion: my birthday, Diwali, New Year, even Valentines’ and Holi! Then I saw the date of next entry, and I thought “why?”
5th July, 2012
She was an important part of my life once. My days started planning for her class, waiting for her to come for her ‘eyes panchkarma’. My doctor colleagues and friends used to tease me with her name. If I give her my ‘Patient of the Year’ Award, it won’t be wrong. Then, I realized, what was I doing, I am her teacher and doctor first. I should behave professionally with her. Thus, limiting my exchanges with her to a formal tone, bidding her goodbye as soon as possible, not looking at her when she left, was my new normal routine. Blocking my heart’s doors for her was my only objective. I received her messages on every occasion, wishing me. But I never replied to her, didn't want us to be friendly, or send her a wrong signal. But I failed miserably. Yesterday, I received an e-mail from her, sharing with me her feelings for me. So honest and straightforward, she put across what SHE FELT for me. She loves me!!! Yes, she loves me. I am so happy, but can’t reply her. This is neither the right time, nor am I in a right frame of mind. We should be focusing on our respective careers for some more time. Till then, take care of my sweet fairy. Oh, and do I love her too?? Yes, maybe! If ever things are right, we’ll be together soon.
OK, so you read this letter with me didn't you? Do you feel angry too? Why Prem ji, why did you? Do you have any idea how much pain you made us both go through? Since the time I know you, love and you are one for me. What if your detachment game had cost us something invaluable? What if I’d have been forced to accept an arranged match in marriage due to your seemingly nonchalant demeanour? Would you have been happy then? Angrily, I flipped through rest of the pages. What I saw in the last page, vanished my anger into thin air.
6th February, 2013
To: My Love ‘Chahat’,
“Innocent, deer-like, your speaking, sparkling eyes,
Makes my heart vie, for your pleasing, unbreakable tie.
Lips of lotus you have, with a figure to hold,
But way above else, you've got a heart of gold.
For your love I've slept and your face I've dreamt of,
Your voice I needed to hear, though I turned my ears off.
You my angel, were, always will be the life running in
Will you pardon me, & let me cast on you the spell, of Red
I Love you My Innocent Fairy, Be My Valentine for the rest of my life.”
Tears were flooding my eyes, and my quilt was getting wet now. “Is he….did he actually….proposed to me?” It seemed like my wait of ages was over, God had blessed me, granted my prayers. I could understood now the significance of our meeting on ‘7th February’, it was ‘Rose Day’ yesterday, followed by ‘Propose Day’ today (Yes, next day had started, it was already 3 A.M.). He had found a unique way of proposing to me, on the right day! Had he been in front of me right then, I’d have given him a big ‘jaadoo ki jhappi’ (bear hug), and sealed his proposal with a kiss on his cheeks. But, he was not here, and I remembered my wait of more than one year!
So, with a considerable certainty, I scribbled a few words of my own on a yellow letter-pad’s paper, added some rose petals to it, folded it neatly and sealed our relationship’s future in an envelope. Carefully pasting this envelope on the back of the diary, I gift-wrapped it once again, this time in a gift-paper of my own.
“Please meet me tomorrow at the same place, same time. I've got your reply ready.” I texted him, and peacefully slept over my new future’s keys, to enjoy some realistic dreams afresh. Can you make a guess, as to what were my dreams now?
© 2013 Charu Bhatnagar