Beyond The Sunset-3
by Tanuja Chatterjee
Back to Chapter 2
The distant past was the distant dream,that distant landmine area, which clouded possibly everything...every aspect of her being, with a painful sense of distress, turning the maverick in her into an emotionally vulnerable entity.Her heart bore the scars of absolute neglect and were still quite fresh, in spite of the hiatus of many decades.
She was "Anu" for all but "Abha...! How could it be!" she thought.
Equipping herself with the fullness of life, she turned around. Roy stood before her, face to face.An electric wave consumed her body and she stood speechless, totally dumbstruck.Her heart pounded loudly. A strange impulse ran up and down her spine.As her head reeled she juggled in her steps and turned back again to grasp the support of the boundry wall. Gaining her composure back quickly she smiled and said "What a plesant surprise Roy! Never knew you were in town!"
"Yeah, it's me and it's you again!" he answered as usual with a little laughter.With his hands pulled in all directions he made gestures as he spoke something while moving closer towards her. She heard nothing, felt nothing and words collapsed in her mouth, refusing to come out. Making deliberate efforts all she heard was "Meeting you after ages. So! How is life!'
"I'm good Roy! Yes, thirty years is a long time, almost sounds like an age, isn't it?" she replied humbly.
"Yeah, I too thought you were back there in Delhi still. Was clueless of your where abouts." he added as he moved closer still.
Lending a glimpse of that sparkling smile Anubha turned away slowly and began to move to select the view for her next shot.
"Hmm!" he said bending his gaze at the pavement. "And I thought that you were in Delhi still."
"Come on Roy, it's about thirty years now. Life moves on you see!" With a little thought she added "and so did we! Look!" As she said she turned around with arms outstretched on either side and a tightly clutched camera in the grip of her right hand.
Roy stood almost a breath away. She hadn't seen him so clearly for a long,long time. He was just a touch away. She stood still looking into those large bright eyes with her penetrating gaze,while trying really hard to shun away the tears which were fighting to make an appearance in her dark kohl lit eyes. How could she let them flow! She had wasted them long enough. Not any more. Roy now stood beside her,resting his back on the boundary wall, very close. Looking at the sight of her dreams she saw standing before her was a middle aged man with tanned complexion, thin hair line and head full of grey hair. He appeared unfamiliar but those sparkling eyes said it all.
"Come on, say something Abha!" said Roy. "We are meeting after so long! What mysticity! What do you say!"
For Anubha the time stood still. Her gaze had turned vaccant. She stood before Roy as a witness of the melting of times. Her past, present and future all fused into this one moment.Those lingering echoes of the days gone by stirred up that hornets' nest whose cacophony was unbearable. A crack had been formed on the walls of the dam holding the melted ice behind her very own eyes. She wanted to release her pressure. She wanted to cry her lungs out. She wanted to feel light and free. But Anubha had evolved. Expecting the most unexpected had been her mantra now and it helped her too! She had now acquired the quality to be graceful under pressure.Moreover, life had made her wiser now.
After a long pause she uttered with a clear voice "How did you know it was me?"
"I saw you through the window of my car." said Roy looking at her eyes with equal intensity. He added "Yes, life does move on but you didn't nor did I"
"Don't know about you but I have definitely!' replied Anubha instantly.
"No you haven't!" he shot back as in those times."There are just these pair of eyes whose sparkles touch my soul.'he smiled faintly as he said.
"What lies!" she thought. The congestion of her heart hadn't ceased a bit and she felt shortage of breath.
Unaware of her asthma, Roy began to talk about various things and people all from his recent past, looking at the monument, to click a shot or two for her while Anubha dived into her hand bag in search of her puff. Everything he said, once again, flew over her head. She knew how worse her condition could become and so as soon as she got hold of it she pumped in two large wholesome puffs breathing and pushing the chemicals deep, still deeper. Roy turned when he heard her taking deep breath and was shocked at her state.
"Since how long?"he asked
"Since you left"came a quiet reply and both fell silent.
With empty but tearful gaze Anubha looked away from Roy and fixed her vision at the magnificant monument. She couldn't help comparing it with her ownself. How both bore that stark resemblence!
The monument, a treat to the eyes,was dedicated to the Empress of India, Queen Victoria, to rekindle her memory in every heart for posterity and Anubha, a woman of grace, poise and dignity, dedicated herself, selflessly,armed with boundless courage and great strength, not to be remembered by the ages to come but to turn every pain into gain. In spite of her bruised self, she turned into a warrior, a fighter and a charmer, in the truest sense. To be continued.....