(This is my first attempt at story-telling. Any sort of criticism/suggestion is welcome and appreciated)
It is Valentine’s Day. The day of celebrating love and all it entails. The day of happiness, warmth and affection, not only for your partner but for everyone who you share a special bond with. The day on which even the most unromantic person cannot let all the mush around him go unnoticed and is prompted to join the expressing-my-love brigade.
Misha is sitting in her chair quietly witnessing the activity in her crowded neighbourhood through a tightly shut glass window. In her hand is a red rose, now all dried up and flaky, but very carefully preserved in her personal diary over time. Her face looks beaten, her eyes resigned. The tastefully done room around her is in stark contrast to the gloom that is now an integral part of her life.
This day holds a significance in her life that no amount of words can come to measure. She wonders about the antithesis of today compared with her recent past. As she flips through the pages of her personal diary she can’t help but observe how a lifetime of happiness and grief can be experienced by someone in such a short span of time.
Her’s was a whirlwind romance. She was a young girl of 20, a Commerce student, dreamy-eyed, carefree and uncertain of her future. He, Sameer, was 25, a Computer Engineer, smart, intelligent, chivalrous, successful and with a ready smile. They bumped into each other for the first time at a common friend’s party. Cupid struck the moment they were introduced, but both were at such a loss of words that all they could manage was smiling and shying away. The whole evening went in stolen glances, indirect references and non-accidental run-ins until on a friend’s coaxing Sameer went up to Misha and asked her out. She agreed.
A love-struck Misha writes in her diary:
I love even your thought so much,
Can’t imagine how I’ll love you.
‘se even when I think about you,
I feel I’m missing you.
Before their first date was over both of them knew they’d found the ‘one’. They stepped into each other’s lives easily and naturally. They couldn’t bear being apart from each other. When they weren’t together they were constantly in touch on phone. They’d been together for almost a month when Valentine’s Day came. Sameer hadn’t planned it but didn’t want to miss a rather clichéd but very romantic opportunity either. He proposed. She accepted. Meanwhile, he encouraged her to get her first ever accounting job in a small firm.
Glowing, starry-eyed Misha gushes about her love:
My love for you cannot be expressed,
In the warmth of your arms I feel loved and caressed.
You are above all the treasures in the world,
Your love is a precious gift with which I’ve been blessed.
Their wedding was a low-key affair. It was a simple ceremony held in the presence of both their families and close friends. It was by planning, luck or sheer coincidence is tough to comprehend, since that too was Valentine’s Day. Both of them were over the moon and had eyes only for each other. They’d been saving for a rather unusual but immensely exciting and adventurous honeymoon, a trekking trip in the Himalayas. Both of them were very kicked with the idea and were looking forward to have a memorable experience.
Misha writes in her diary during her honeymoon:
Now we’re here it’s just so great,
To be there for the sake of another.
So come ahead and hold me now,
For the world we needn’t bother.
It was the first of the many adventures of life, big and small, planned and unexpected, domestic and professional, that they were going to share together, as one. Theirs was an ideal life; intimate, content and blissful. There was nothing more and nothing else they could wish for.
But just as even a bright sunny day has to make way for the night and happiness has to inevitably be followed by tears, their smooth-sailing journey of life inadvertently hit a roadblock. Misha was planning for a dual celebration, her recent promotion and their second anniversary, when that dreaded call came. As she listened to the person on the other side her suddenly rubbery legs started giving away. She felt the whole room closing in on her until she collapsed on the floor, unconscious. While he was returning home from work Sameer’s car had been run-over by a bus injuring him severely. The bus-driver had sped away for fear of getting caught even while Sameer had been profusely bleeding. He succumbed to his injuries even before help arrived.
What happened in the days after that is too hazy in Misha’s memory. She recalls being surrounded by her grief-stricken bawling relatives trying to console her, their words don’t register though. Sameer’s garlanded picture that was put up for offering condolences was the one she took on their first anniversary. How could that smiling face ever fade away?
Today, it has been a month since Sameer died. Her anniversary present for Sameer lies on the table, unopened. Misha refuses to step out of the house or meet anyone. She knows she has to collect the battered pieces of her life and move on but it is too hard.
Misha’s painful words in Sameer’s remembrance :
The world’s painted crimson and in all its shades,
But my heart’s all dull and bare.
There can be no love or the thought of it,
If you can’t be here with me to share.
We swore we were one till death do us apart,
Forgive me, for I outlived my part.
Heaven or earth, you were and will always be mine,
Could I live without you in my heart?
I miss the smell and that touch of you,
Days and nights are alike, nothing’s right or true.
You’re too far for even my mind to go,
Tell me, there, do you miss me too?
As if by an apology from God for shattering her world, and a surprise gift from Sameer, she’s found out that the seed of their love has been sown. The dark tunnel has finally ended and a ray of hope has found its way in her life. She has received a new lease of life. As she closes her eyes and caresses her abdomen in anticipation she can feel Sameer’s omnipresence. Her Valentine, thus, has returned. Just then the Celine Dion song plays somewhere, “ My heart will go on…”.