Photo Album

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I hurried towards my balcony and waved at Vivek & her fiance as they departed to their work-place after spending a week-long staycation with me. I stood on my balcony till I could see the car take the left turn and slowly vanish from my vision. The sun with its tangerine hues set slowly across the horizon. The drapes of the window swayed with the evening breeze. The peepal tree across the main road stood firm, witnessing everything like a silent observer. The house seemed a little empty today. Emptiness has its own definition and camouflages it with one’s mood. For some, it can be melancholy while for some it can be solitude.

I turned up the volume of the retro music from my music system and slowly walked toward my kitchen. A cup of chai is sometimes the best therapy one can have. With the cup full of elixir I sat on my couch across the hall, near the window overlooking my garden. It was slowly getting dark and all I could see was the silhouette of the plants & bushes. I opened the drawer of the side table and took out the old album. I glanced through the pages of it and with it I took a time -travel with each flip of the page.

I paused at one specific page. Yes, it was this specific picture that had popped in my head when I had seen Vivek, grin while introducing Mehek to me. Vivek looked exactly the same. The same happiness in his eyes, a hint of shyness, and his hand scratching the back of his head. He looked like a replica of his Dad today. As if I was seeing Adil stand in front of me. Exactly the same way, when he had confessed his love for me , twenty seven years ago!

Love has no definition and so was our bond. Before we could know anything , we were inseparable and everything seemed just right, till society started finding faults with everything beautiful that we had created with so much passion. It was not easy to flee & start a new chapter in a new place especially when I was about three months pregnant. But Adil, made it seem effortless. We created our own world, our own rules and then I had Vivek, my son to complete my world. The house would echo with our laughter sessions. Adil, was a resoirvoir of love for me. My tantrums, my anxiety, my rant sessions found their home in Adil and I found a safe spot in his heart. I never saw him complain about me, not even a single day. I was the trouble maker and he was always there , rock solid holding me in place!

And one fine morning, I was homeless. I woke up beside him in the morning. As always, I turned towards him and brushed his hair with my hands. But he lay lifeless without a reaction. I put my head on his broad chest and gave him a kiss , trying to gain his attention. But there was nothing. He did not breathe & finding this, I could not do the same. My world came crashing down. To my disbelief, the night was the most beautiful night where we had touched each other’s souls and had made plans regarding our next family trip! I could not cry. Something within me had frozen.

The doctors had declared it to be a heart attack. Adil left me all alone in this world with Vivek and I had no idea where to begin. He was gone, just like that! My heart could never beat for anyone as it had for Adil and even though I had many men approaching me, wanting to accept me with Vivek, I just could not take the step forward. It was difficult. Not just difficult but unfair to be left all alone. I was a mother but I was also a human being with all needs, wants & desires of a normal human being. And on top of that, I had a society to face & tackle. The same which I had fought to be together with Adil!

Vivek grew up faster than his age and I became mechanical with each passing day. Keeping myself busy seemed the only solution to survive. Somehow, days turned into months & months into years. We both survived!

Vivek resembled his father and was probably a carbon copy. I had mixed feelings. As a mother, I felt happy but as a woman seeing him, I missed Adil more every single day. Probably, I had never let him go. I just could not.

I had never seen Vivek this happy as I saw him today in front of the love of his life. His smile today uncannily resembled that of his father.

As I sat in my favourite corner of the house sipping my ‘adrak wali’ tea, a tear drop down my eyes, after years, I guess! Someone wiped it !! But who? There was none in the house except me !!

My favourite picture of Adil in the album shone brighter as if a bright light in the darkness & I could not believe my eyes!

Love,

Chinmayee

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