By Shobha Diwakar
She lay unwrapped beside him, huddled snugly by his side on the lovely double bed. It had always been the same ever since she had gone. Gone and left him alone. Bereft of all his pleasures “she” was all that he had to look forward to. At first he refused to glance at her but as time wore out, her activities in the house calmed his irritant nerves and gradually he began to love her; love her as part and parcel of himself and strangely, the enveloped sadness dissipated and a ray of sunshine tapped his door once again washing off the sorrow that had lain wretchedly for the last six months.
Prachur had slept rather badly. The whole night “she” had been groaning with pain. It was telling upon him after the day’s hectic work at office but something within whispered into his ear “she” could not be left in the care of a nurse or another unknown person she was not used to. It might make things more tangible; so with these disturbing thoughts, he pushed a chair to keep watch over the timid “she” burning with fever. Fondly he caressed her forehead, whispering sweet nothings to soothe her parched mind, unresponsive to his touch. Long before she had lost the hope of being loved; did she not know that he was sitting there by her side making up for the lost time? Drowsily he looked up, yes, now she had fallen asleep. Probably his tender touch had partially healed her wounds of neglect. Maybe she would now recover faster. He must make sure about that. She was all he now had in his life. Rest were all in paradise. May be there was a new twinkling star looking down upon him smiling and offering him comfort for his new found happiness.
When he woke up the sun was merrily winking through the blinds. How could he have overslept? Did “she” not miss his coo? Well, well, he consoled himself, so long as “she” slept comfortably, wasn’t that rewarding? But what, why this hesitation? Why was he feeling derailed? His tired limbs would not permit him to move ahead. He wasn’t feeling fresh; a misty haze floated before his eyes. Was he sick? Was he catching a fever? Then who would take care of “her?” His muddled thoughts shook him out of his reverie as he witnessed a cherubic smile upon “her” face. That was an award he hadn’t expected, but yes he had hoped someday it might come his way. Was that day today? Oh, he cajoled and in a flash his tiredness had vanished. Filled with gusto he pinched himself to make sure he wasn’t dreaming. No, it was true “she” had finally forgiven his neglect. His happiness knew no bounds. He was in seventh heaven as he rushed into the bath to relieve himself of his morn chores. He slipped into his best denims and a vibrant T-shirt to match the shade. He pulled up his socks and boots to go with his outfit and snatching a scrap of breakfast he did not forget to plant a kiss on her forehead, brush her rosy cheeks and waving a flying kiss flew out in his car for his office. Till his return “her” time bound nana would take care of her. Now all would be as before he consoled himself for the umpteenth time. My, how time flies. Does it have wings, nice and flurry? He mused to himself.
It was nearing 10.30 am when Prachur entered his cabin. The others were already there by 10. But who could question the Boss? He looked so poised and content. There was a stir and an excitement filled the room. Wow, they murmured to each other. Behold this mighty change! But who would bell the cat? That was the million dollar question that twiddled their thoughts. Then the bell rang. So be it. The Boss was calling one of them. Ratan picked up the file and haltingly looked back with a wink and stepped inside the cabin. A soft, a very soft music was playing in the background. A larger than life smile floated in the corner of his cheeks. Prachur shook himself, a cool smile rolled across his face. Sure he wasn’t dreaming once again. The day had brightened as never before. He was in a good mood and had worked diligently at his desk. Now even as Ratan stood before him he seemed to be oblivious of his presence. He was lost in memories of yesteryears and had forgotten Ratan standing for orders. He had lost his love and did not wish to lose “her”; he knew there was no one like her and that he would never behold anyone like her. If he lost her a second time “she” would be lost forever. His entire life revolved round her well being.
He was sure he had to make up for the time he had lost and realized how she too was susceptible to his touch. What a thrill it gave him to perceive her angelic smile. If only “she” would smile more often it would transport him to seventh heaven. Didn’t Dante write about it in his Divine Comedy? Just then Ratan coughed to draw his attention. With a start he looked up. With a soft apology he pushed the papers before him to check for final assessment. Bidding him good-day Ratan departed all excited to convey the happenings to his curious colleagues.
As soon as Ratan had departed Prachur shoved aside the sheaf of papers that lay strewn by his side. He had had enough of office work and now he eagerly wished to rush home. He had already put in extra hours for the last couple of months to forget the torture he had undergone .His mental anguish gave him no peace. He hadn’t slept for days unending, groaning and griping in everlasting pain till one of his childhood friends, Nimish took him to task and egged him on for yoga and meditation at a well known centre. It was meeting new people, who had lost more in their lives than he himself had that had brought him back to his senses. The counselors had tenderly worked him out of his tragic life and this had gradually made a great difference in his attitude towards “her”. But of course “she” had no idea about any of these happenings and fortunately there was no one else to carry these tales of woe to her. Yes now he had reconciled to his loss and this new found happiness would heal the past Though “she’’ was sick her trusted nana was there to fondle and take care of her needs. Of course he stood there, a towering figure 6’ 2”, fair, handsome and blessed with pretty brown eyes. Oh! But all that didn’t matter to “her”, she had been so, so sick, and yet , as though some unknown spirit had guided her, she had brushed him aside in her delirium; but that phase he was quite aware of had now passed away. Hadn’t she awarded him that bewitching smile? Yes, he pinched himself that smile was for him alone and after all wasn’t she, his very own sunshine?
~to be continued
About the Author: Dr. Shobha Diwakar lives in Jabalpur, India and retired as the head of English department at C.P. Mahila Mahavidhyalaya, Jabalpur. She has published many research papers, stories, poems and essays in national, international and online journals. She contributes regularly to writerslifeline and Indian Periodical. Dr Diwakar servers on the Advisory Board of www.writerslifeline.ca and editorial board of CLRI (contemporary literary journal India) for poetry and short story section.