“Here you go again, I would be glad if you could keep your hands confined”, I saw myself spitting fire that could have given a dragon run for noodles.
It was one of those shallow moments I preferred to stay aloof.
All of them seated in the bus including the driver gave me weird looks.
This isn’t fair! Why do people stare at me and ignore Rahul when something goes wrong?? Not that I am too pretty, well actually I am, but so is Rahul Sharma…HANDSOME!
He was still fiddling with my bangles and pinching my wrist.
I turned towards him to give him good and then I realized...
His face had a charm of a new born child, he had the innocence of a child’s smile,
His touch was as soft as a baby’s bottom, everything about him reminded me of a child.
Of course it would, because that’s the way I saw him... a childlike husband :)
I smiled at him and said “You won’t stop, will you?? “He said...” No Ree”
I hated that. My name is Riddhi sharma, and he called me Reee like in reee which could sound like Reeeee or reeeed or read depending on his mood or the food in his mouth.
What’s with this Reee??? I always wondered, but it was him and I was ready to give up anything for him.
I would often laugh at my friends watching romantic movies.
I always found them boring.
My time was spent watching offbeat movies.
Talking to the dead, foreseeing future are trifle pearls from the large sea of endearing things I wanted to do before I die...
My parents found me scary, they thought I had a problem.
And when they discovered I was in love with Rahul, they dint approve of it.
My dad told me he was one of my weird fascinations.
I was adamant, I fought, I cried, I pleaded and then I eloped.
It was the night before Diwali.
I lived in Delhi and we planned to move to Shimla, that was about 350 kms away in distance.
Rahul was waiting for me in the garage, in Dad’s car. (I had slipped him the keys)
I wore the new dress mom got me, packed my clothes, took some money from dad’s pocket and mom’s handbag and my piggy bank (I was 23 then …FYI)
We drove exactly in the midnight around 2 AM when my parents were making love.
The only thing I was sure about, living with them for so many years was their schedule ;)
So my plan went as precise as it was intended.
We reached Shimla on Diwali, we got married on the same day in a Shiva temple.
We were so thrilled, excited and curious about our lives together.
Luckily we spent all the money we had like crazy goons on food and all that is unnecessary.
At the end of the day, we did not have a roof to stay but a lot of things to be kept under the roof :)
Rahul found a room in a decent Inn. He had arranged it as per our Plan.
That was the only thing I asked him to do and he had done his job well.
We made love like crazy for the next ten days, just ate, slept and made love.
I don’t remember having a wash as well.
On the eleventh day we were so tired of doing it, so gave ourselves a break.
I said “Rahul what about our future, what do we do for food”
He said “It is free for this week, my friend said it’s complimentary”
That was the happiest moment of my life, “Free food for 7 days, would you believe it”??
We spent the next week exploring Shimla, taking pictures, eating free food and of course making love relentlessly.
Those were the best days of my life, trust me there wasn’t a moment I thought about my parents. He dint think too because he had none.
I know I am selfish but honestly Rahul was a gift from God.
He is so good, I never saw him angry, sad or cribbing about anything or anybody.
He called every moment of his life precious.
I am never able to fathom to this day, why did he love me?
What did I have in me to deserve him? I am all that he is not
Since the day we met I found myself melting and dissolving in his goodness.
All my friends who had nicknamed me “Ravenous Riddhi” were surprised at my metamorphosis.
Rahul is very handsome, and his inner beauty is more evident than the outer.
We met during a charity show in Shimla during my college days.
He was training to be a teacher there.
It was one of the most beautiful locations, which I had seen only in calendars and National geographic channel.
I was playing around with him as usual, for he was the cutest boy around.
I left to Delhi after the show and I found him at my doorstep the next day!!
I was shocked and felt guilty but there was nothing I could do.
I apologized and he left.
The next day I saw him near my college.
Trust me I was amazed at his innocence, his conviction and his love for me.
Rahul came to me and said “I am staying at my friend’s place madam, I won’t trouble you but would you let me see you every day from a distance, I won’t even come near you”
I wondered what did I do or what was there in me that he came all the way.
It was too late I had fallen for him, I said “lets meet “.
Our let’s meet escalated to let’s go out, let’s sing, let’s dance, let’s love, let’s kiss and let’s marry.
I found him terribly innocent, likeable, sweet, and humorous.
With him I found myself laughing all the time.
Dad was against it because he had dreams about packing me off with an NRI earning to glory.
A small town teacher with a small pocket was his last choice as a mortal.
“Reeee check this out “Rahul screamed while throwing a ball of snow on my face to bring me back from nostalgia.
We played like kids and went back to our room.
That night we dint make love, we spoke for the first time since we moved to Shimla.
Rahul said” I have asked my friend to drive back to Delhi and park your car home.
I don’t have enough money, so I have no choice but to take you to my small house nearby.”
We vacated the room and I was more than happy to go to our new home.
We decorated it with all the colors and decorative I could get my hands on.
Our home brimmed with exuberant colors and flavors just like our lives.
He resumed to work and I picked up a job in the same school.
Time passed by sooner than we thought, before I realized we were celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary.
Rahul wanted kids only after he built a school for the orphanage nearby.
Most of our earnings, donations and offerings accumulated to our fund for the school.
We had our fights, I used to start, speak and finish, finding him poised with a childish grin on his face.
One thing I disliked about going out with him was, no matter where we went, he used to fiddle with me and all the cold stares pivoted at my face.
And again he is doing the same thing today.
I looked at him again and said
“All of them are looking at us, just look at that aunty seated beside us “
He signaled that lady and when she saw us, he kissed me, she was shocked and I said “This is it”.
I asked the driver to stop and started walking towards the never ending road.
Rahul came running behind, held my hand and was swinging it to and fro, humming some vague song I never heard of, nevertheless it sounded so good.
I started humming along ‘MMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm”
He was laughing, I couldn’t stop myself too and we walked and walked in our world, just us with hands knotted and love entangled.
We reached the main road, I found all of them giving me weird looks, I said Rahul “leave my hand” he refused and held it tight.
He said “let’s go home soon, I am hungry, and I know you have something special for me today”
I smiled and said “Of course darling today is our Anniversary, so let me buy some flowers and sweets from the corner shop, head back home and dwell in your arms the whole day.”
He smiled and stood in the corner waiting for me.
I usually bought sweets from Paris corner.
The shopkeeper Ramu smiled and said.
“Today is Rahul Saab’s Birthday right, I remember it.”
He had kept the sweet box ready too. It had all the sweets Rahul loved.
I smiled and said “Thank you but it’s our anniversary…” I just turned back and saw Rahul waving at Ramu and he was asking me to come soon.
I was just about to leave when Rahul’s friend Reema appeared from nowhere…Rahul hid behind a fruit stall.
Reema said “Hey Riddhi, I am so glad to see you. I called you so many times, why dint you pick my call??? “I was grinning, looking at Rahul making faces at me.
Reema saw me and asked “Why are you smiling? “
I said “Nothing”.
She said “It’s great to see you smile, I know why you are here, today is Rahul’s birthday right??
I said a feeble “Yes” and wished to whisk into oblivion.
Reema was smiling too and pulled me across the street, I was perplexed.
She said “I know where you’re going, I want to come with you”.
But I said I don’t want to go anywhere, she smiled and said “I want to go, so come with me”
I was searching for Rahul, he was still hiding behind the fruit stall waving at me with a scorn.
I cursed him and walked with her to a beautiful park across the street.
Rahul and I enjoyed walking in this park. We had so many beautiful memories attached to every grass, every flower nurtured there.
While strolling I stumbled upon a stone…it was a tomb stone and by that time Reema came running towards me holding two bunches of flowers.
Reema looked at the grave and said” This will be the only grave in the world which is surrounded by exuberance, enslaved by colors, spirited with Life.
And it is, I thought. Can anyone find a grave in a park so beautiful...?
She took few tissues from her bag and swept the leaves away from the grave that read
Then I heard her cry, she hugged me and said “He was so full of life, I am seldom surprised to see flowers sprouting out of his grave.
Reema turned towards me and looked into my eyes and whispered “I miss him”...
I smiled and said “I don’t”
She was appalled and I was so sure that she would.
Anybody in her place couldn’t do better.
She gave me a look which spoke many derogatory words ineffably.
I said “let’s go home and have some sweets, Rahul doesn’t like crying”.
Reema made a stupid excuse and left, I know I was rude nevertheless I was honest.
I realized then, Rahul had passed away 2 years after our wedding,
He had fallen from the school building which was under construction.
He came home the same night and we cried for weeks together but I realized, I had just lost the mortal in him, just the skin, the physicality but the person I loved was not dead, his love, his memories, his smile… they were eternally mine… and time had cascaded smoothly until now.
We do all the things which we used to do such as shopping, eating, singing and dancing, making love but the only person who can see it and feel it is ME.
Rahul smiled at me and kissed my hand, and we marched home together to celebrate.
My dad said my fascinations about the dead were weird and imaginative.
I seldom ponder over what he said, it doesn’t matter to me if Rahul is real or a facet of my imagination.
All that matters to me is HE is with ME and I believe there is nothing such as Life after Death, there is only Life after Life and a beautiful one at that.
I heard Rahul screaming at the doorstep “Ree I am going to the school will come back soon,”
I saw him leaving, I knew he would come back.
I got dressed and was standing by the doorstep waiting for him while my neighbor Radha aunty was wondering what I was up to, she signaled me to go inside and shut the door.
I scorned at her and told myself... “Rahul I love you and my doors will always be open "Whenever You Come”.