”I love you, Sonia.” I said on the phone with a smile
“I love you too.” she replied with much more happiness in her tone
A silence prevailed for some seconds which was broken by her.
“Mom was asking me if I like any guy or not.” she replied
“What did you say?” I replied with an eagerness in my tone
“I just told her that… ” and she took a long pause teasing me
“What?” I asked clearly eager to hear the answer
“That… ” she knew I get teased easily as she again took a pause
“Sonia.” I took her name
“That I will tell you at the right time.” she replied at last and I sighed
“Don’t get tensed.” she added
“I am not tense,Sonia. I just need some time. I have just started my career.” I replied
“Arey, I know na. Am I forcing you for marriage? No. You just focus on your career but Puneet, we do have time na?” she asked hesitatingly
A silence prevailed again which was broken by me this time.
“Yes, we do.” I replied with a belief
“Acha, your birthday’s next week. What do you want?” she asked happily
“You.” I replied with a smile
“Arey, I am already yours. Tell me na?” she again asked same thing with a hint of childish tone
“Hmm.. Whatever you like, I will also like. So, you decide.” I replied
“OK, now I have to go otherwise mom will again ask me who are you talking to for so long.” she replied softly
“Ok baba, Bye. Take care.” I replied with a sense of care
“Bye. Bye.” she replied
And the call was cut.
I wanted to talk to her again but then thought of calling her later. I never knew this would become my biggest mistake. My busy schedule didn’t allowed me to talk to her anytime soon before the day of my return.
I was out of country working as an assistant engineer on a project. My return was scheduled 3 days before my birthday next week. I was feeling much more happier not because of birthday but because of the prospect that I was going to meet her after so long. I hadn’t told her about my the day of my returning as I told her it was a surprise. I had called her a few times before the plane was to take off but her phone was switched off. I was worried but assured myself that everything was ok.
The day came. I returned back to my country. I was so relieved to be back. I went home without any delay. On the way to home, I again tried her number but it again gave me the same answer.
My two best friends knew everything about me and so they knew when I would be home. They were already at my home. I met them with great enthusiasm but their mood was sort of off. It looked like they were hiding something. On my repeated questioning about her, they revealed the truth.
She was out for shopping when she met with an accident yesterday. I was in the flight and thus can’t be contacted.
“So.. She’s ok na now. Han. Tell me.?” I asked them both with hesitation
They didn’t replied as they looked at each other face.
“Why aren’t you telling me, dammit?” I asked again in a ferocious tone
“She’s no more. It was an on spot death.”
This sentence made me numb. My worldly senses switched off. Tears reached the brink of my eyes but didn’t came out. My face went expressionless. I had never cried before and thus didn’t wanted to show my tears to anyone.
We were standing in the home garden. I looked up blinking my eyes to stop tears from coming out and without saying anything to them, I moved out of garden. I started walking down the road without looking here and there. I stopped somewhere where there was dark. I was unaware of the place. The grief overtook me as I sat down right there on the road and started crying. The tears made their way from my eyes to cheeks and then lips. I had never tasted my own tears till now. I didn’t knew what to do. I felt so helpless and restless. I just kept looking here and there while crying. Tears eventually dried up as I stood up to go back home.
And right then, her words echoed in my mind.
“Puneet, we do have time na?”
The tears again made their way out as my fight with eyes to stop the tears from coming out went in vain. I was going to propose her for marriage and this multiplied my grief million times. I again crashed down on that dark road pouring my heart out through my eyes.
P.S – It’s fiction.