Mystic Maze of Life
“Shit, I shouldn’t be late, I can’t afford to break my punctuality record,” I murmured to myself, as I hurried down the lane that led to the serene lakeside. When I approached my destination, I saw him. Sitting unaware on the bench facing the lake, and imbibing the crimsonness of the setting sun, his body language had the inquisitiveness of a child, as always. “Ten years haven’t changed him much”, I thought.
My heart thumped more and more, as I neared him. But I decided to wear a face of confidence and an air of coolness. “Hi” I greeted him with a wide grin.
“Oh, hello...but you are late!” he smirked, as my approach broke is communication with nature. I could read the joy of victory in his cheerful eyes. But even before I could answer, I noticed that ten years had definitely made him more desirable. In a black T-shirt and blue denims, his rippling muscles, proved that he had been working out regularly. His choice of fragrance had also upgraded tremendously. “What? What are you thinking?” he inquired stupefied by my prolonged silence.
“Ummm,” I fumbled, gulped and then began, “no, look at your watch...I am perfectly on time, as usual....but you are before time...which is not your usual behaviour...sir.” I proclaimed desperately trying to sound ‘cool’.
“May be because I was too excited to see you Nish...I mean Nisha...” he looked at me intently this time, and the gaze set my hormones crazy. I could feel my cheeks getting heated up, but I managed a clumsy smile. “How have you been?” he asked.
It was a beautiful Friday evening, the sun was mellow and the breeze was gentle and lulling. The placidity of the lake was hampered once in a while as the wind caused soft ripples. We were seated on the bench, with soft grass underneath our feet, the silvery silhouette of the water body and the crimson sky above, with zillions of feelings boiling inside our hearts.
I looked at Rishab and smiled, the hormones had eased. There were voices inside my mind ‘you are not the Nisha he loved’...’your reality is different from his imagination.’
Clearing my throat, I reverted with confidence “life is challenging and you know I don’t like challenges...but I have learnt to cope up, I have learnt to find solace in solitude. I have changed a lot...I had to.”
“Ummm...how is your husband?” he inquired hesitantly.
“He is doing good...just that he isn’t my husband any more...I have heard he has remarried and shifted to the US” I answered sounding unfazed.
“Sorry to hear that” he fumbled.
“No that’s fine...I hope he gets companionship...just like I hoped for you...and you eventually did, didn’t you? How is...ummm...Sweta right?” I asked.
“She is good” he smiled.
“Hmmm...What made you want to see me after so long Rishab?” I asked hesitantly.
“Well! I don’t know...I was in Mumbai after 10 long years and the first name that crossed my mind was yours...” he reverted. “What are you doing these days?”
“Counselling...after getting my degree in psychiatry...I decided to open my own wellness and counselling centre” I resonated.
“Wow...that’s awesome...actually!” he smiled. “Can I get a chance to attend a session with you?”
“But why?” I asked astonished.
My question silenced him for a moment or two. And when he started speaking again, his facial expressions had undergone sea change. “I lied to you...Sweta...she is no more,” the words came rumbling like thunder and hit me hard.
“What...how?” I quivered pathetically.
“In an accident...a bus accident,” I could see the pain in his eyes, but his words were making my senses numb and thoughts go haywire.
“No...I mean...where?” I didn’t have the strength but I wanted to know the answer.
“In Bangalore....” I could hardly perceive his words any more, my head was reeling and heart thumping like insane. ‘This is all fake...this is impossible,’ words were resonating inside me.
“Nish...Nisha...Nisha” he was shaking me violently, “what happened to you...are you OK?”
I was looking at him; his face was very close to mine but blurred. His fragrance was surrounding me like a maze; I had no power to break. After few moments I regained composure, he sat by me with his hands around my shoulder. I wanted to melt, the feeling of companionship was so farfetched, that it was hard to believe, that he was actually holding me.
“What happened to you?” he asked dipped in concern.
“I...I am sorry...but I can’t counsel you...I will give the contacts of the best counsellors in the city...I assure you...you will be fine,” I added with a miserly smile. “I think I will leave.”
He was looking at me aghast, as I prepared to walk away. But a strange force impelled me to stop, “Rishab...do you know why my husband left me?”
“Why?” he asked obliviously.
“I was in that bus with Sweta...I...I lost a leg...he couldn’t deal with it...and the tension between us mounted each day....until one day we both decided to find our own paths...separately...” I couldn’t look back at him...but could feel his gaze following me as I walked away into my world of mystic maze.