“ When he has to do something, he would find a way” Believe it or not.
I stood still, gazing at the newspaper, numb, closed my eyes for a couple of seconds and looked again. I opened my mouth, heard me breathing, long shedding voice of my heart and I trembled. Everything was fading around me and I was still standing there gazing into the blurriness of the newspaper. He asked, “what is it Hon?”. They all were sitting in the dining area and I was standing in the corridor. Mother came running, “who is it Raashi?”.
I was standing near the door and I looked up at them, got closer to the corridor wall and I sighed. I slipped to the floor and the newspaper fell apart. He came and looked at the paper and me while mother hugged me. This was not what I wanted but life turned me down and I stayed there quietly without a word. Not a tear in my eyes, I was numbed by the situation.
I looked at him, a sound of cry voiced up straight from my throat but I could not say it. Diamond came closer and licked my face with his tongue. His tongue was mysterious, it could erase any pain in life but it couldn’t do it that day. Bubba was out with dad. Mom called up dad and asked him to come immediately. She could sense me drowning into the horror of my sorrow. “Kunal, call Dr. Rajesh !”, shouted mother. “Raashi” shouted dad and came running and fell down on his knees. When i opened my eyes i could feel the blurriness so I just closed them. They rushed me to the hospital as Dr. Rajesh wasn’t answering his phone. It wasn’t serious physically, but it was the murder of a mother’s psychology.
We were best friends and promised to stay like that forever. I could see his silhouette and I knew he was worried. He has always been worried whenever I didn’t smile. He hugged mother and asked them to leave. He wanted to stay with me and comfort me, secretly wishing he could heal whatever ailed me but he knew he couldn’t. After my check-up ,he came inside and just sat next to me. I looked at him and a tear sat on his cheek just like drop of water on a leaf. He used his thumb to wipe it off. He held my hand and asked me to close my eyes and remember every single moment we spent together. He whispered to me that he would be back and I said yes with my eyes.
We never fought, never complained, never got upset with each other, never stayed far from each other for a long time, shared dreams, shared hopes and we shared the faith we had for all this time we stayed knotted. It was three years back, when he stood in from of me at my house at a small function. He wasn’t invited but he dropped by. He had taken my 5 year old nephew’s toy earlier to make his presence plausible. Nah! He wasn’t filmy but a very romantic man. I was the most non romantic individual on this earth. We were similar.
And he sluggishly assembled himself in front of everyone. My entire family knew him already. So he started, in an apologetic manner being an uninvited guest, “Hello! “. And we all laughed. It was an intentional way of making him even more uncomfortable. All my sisters, their husbands, maternal and paternal family were present. He cleared his throat, and said, “you look very pretty”, and we all looked at him making him even more conscious. He corrected himself and said, “you all look very pretty”.
We giggled and laughed. He continued in the same awkward manner and I stood speechless. He began, “I would dream to share my dream to travel around the world, to be a part of famous festivals around the globe. I would dream to see you running around our 4 little kids and I would dream to see you loved by our 4 little dogs. I would dream to see you rob my pockets, I would dream to see you by my side when I sleep and a dream to see you again when I wake up. Will you make my dream come true”?
Well when everyone awed, I had a little smile on my face. The speech wasn’t his cup of trait. He knew I wanted 4 kids and 4 dogs, he isn’t fond of any but wanted them for me. I looked at him and tried to find something in his glare of eyes.
While everyone was awaiting my reply, he looked at me and asked, “What hon”? I asked him “is he proposing me and it is not a dream?” And he smiled and said no its not a dream. So I asked him, where is the ring and we all busted into laughter.
His dimpled cheek blew with red colour blush and he took the ring out. We got engaged the same day and got married within two months. Since we met first we had never fought. We stayed best friends throughout.
I could hear the rushing sound of footsteps coming near me. He was back with Mrs Dr. Rajesh. He was a senior psychologist. I had studied psychology too. As usual, he kissed my forehead and asked me how was I feeling? I said I am fine but we all knew that I wasn’t.
Kunal said, whatever happens should not be a concern, there are several other ways to have a baby and the life isn’t over. He sat on the edge of the bed near me and talked to the doctor explaining the situation. He looked at me and asked me not to worry. I said, I broke our dream. When he proposed me and when he stood in front of everyone and asked me to share our dreams for the rest of our lives. He said, that I could never forget that but my only dream was to share our lives, and if you don’t smile now, I will lose my only dream.”
We got back home later in the evening. Sadness was never a part of our home. It was all there that day, as if, someone just poked at our happiness.
I was simply desperate to be a mother and adoption was a way and we started looking into it. Mother was comfortable without any grandkids, but I was desperate to have one.
Months passed by and nothing happened actually. We planned to put things on hold. I would smile but they could all see the truth behind that little smile. When diamond got sick, doctors recommended to have a happy environment as dogs generally are more sentimental than humans and hence we planned a road trip to Manali. We and our 4 dogs, mother and father jumped into the pool of the new trip which was organised in a day. The freshly cold breeze pushing your face backward was escaping. Bubba loved winters and Diamond loved traveling with family. Whereas, Princess and Champ sat with parents in their car, the other two shared spaces in our car.
The sound of river Beas has always been overwhelming, like a song of a nightingale. My first commitment with Kunal was also near a river in front of mountains when we decided to name our relationship, but that didn’t change anything between us other than for the society which he would always mock at.
It was a soothing trip as it was meant to be. We were sitting in our room, in a hut near the valley when mother came screaming and asked us to leave at once. She was watching TV, when they shared the status of Manali Valley being under risk of multiple landslides. We were nearly at the top of the city mountain and going back was our only option, so we ran with all our might and adrenaline. We packed all what we could and filled up the cars. The barking of our 4 dogs was merely an alarming symbol of the danger rushing at us. It was just not us, the whole city panicked and people started running here and there and it was impossible to drive through all of this.
We wanted to help a few of them but everyone wanted to save themselves. Kunal simply held my hand and asked me to not panic, we both were more worried about mother than us. Hence, we decided to switch and I shifted into the front car with Papa.
While the honking and the crisis increased, there was no movement of cars, we were standing right beside a mountain with Kunal at our back comforting mother. I looked at papa and tried to comfort him, as I said, we will always be together. A huge mountain piece broke and fell on the hood of the car. It prompted both of us to jump off the car but we failed as the mountain was made up of sand and stones, which drifted our car to an emptied space on the edge of the road. With a final push, we rolled down the cliff till the car hit something which halted its fall and both of us not realising where we were.
I still couldn’t figure out how many hours it took us to open our eyes but papa eventually managed to revive me. We were in the middle of a forest as our car hung up in between the trees. I still could hear the voice of the river Beas. Well papa did hurt his right arm, my head was bleeding profoundly as well but we had to look up for a shelter to calm our nerves. We heard mild barking, which turned out to be princess and champ. Oh! God, they were alive was a big relief. Princess was so badly hurt, that she could barely walk. Champ licked her leg so she could feel better while we just relaxed near a tree. We didn’t know when we dozed off but when we woke; we were in the middle of a village with nearly 30 people around us staring as we were food. It was a tribe. They lost their homes, many of them lost their kids or parents. One of them then asked us if we were tourist exploring the tents. Papa explained them about the incident and how we were searching the main pathway to reach back on the road. I knew they were alive and looking for us and hence we decided to save ourselves and just find a road.
We requested them for a shelter when one of them told us about their tradition at the time of a landslide. We were shocked to discover as they explained that they were going to behead the families of the ones saved by the landslide. It was a god’s decision to cause death and no one could possibly escape it.
The male natives wore red color tops with a black bottoms while female wore white ones. Kids on the other hand wore a fully covered cardigan to prevent themselves from any kind of bad omen. Kayak was the oldest native culture that resided in Himachal Pradesh. They were unaware about the development around them except the few scholars who choose to come back and stay. They would never light up fire to eradicate coldness as they believed the temperature is a natural phenomenon and it could not be erased but should be borne by our body as an acceptance to the god’s affair.
We choose to stay up for the night as the jungle was scarier at night than the village rituals. The entire night we heard kids crying before the beheadings, mothers shouting and escaping with their kids and men singing their last prayers. At that moment champ crawled up under my legs for shelter and peace and I suddenly noticed a woman standing behind a tree, and staring at us. I elbowed papa to look at her and it scared us a bit. The morning rays of the sun gleamed in her eyes when she came forward. She kneeled down and she was carrying her two babies on her back. We could not understand what she meant but she tried showing us a way back. She asked us not to make any noise and follow her instantly. We followed her for a couple of hours till papa heard the honking of the trucks. We gladly followed the route to the road and hence reached one. Landslide had ruined the entire city. She asked us to go south for 5 kms to find a place to eat. I believed she did not belong there and pap asked her to join us. He offered her help to escape these rituals. She brought her two babies, twin girls in front of us, she put them on the road, and put a locket on each one of them and joined her hands and stood by. She was crying. She was devastated as she left immediately. We ran behind her as she left her babies with us. They were hardly 3 months old, wrapped in an old ragged cloth.
I remember when I told Kunal that I wanted two twin girls and that their name would be Kaira and Kiara. Kunal and I have always shared an interest of accepting each other’s interest. He would say that two girls and a boy would be interesting and then we settled on 2 girls and 2 boys and one dog for each kid. Even in my imagination I couldn’t leave my kids alone with two strangers on a road. She must be scared and broken, that made her do this. Papa and me stood on the cliff in silence and then the crying began. The morning rays compelled us to pick them up and roll their eyes away from the rough hot glare. The moment I picked them, I felt the warmth in my heart which later papa explained that it was just not inside me, but on my face that I could never give them away.
Since then till now, whenever the little angels run to catch a school bus, they look back and wave. I could never tell them what the truth is but I left it on those rays of sun that made us together.
They truly would remain our god’s gift forever.