After closing the doors, Bhaskar went to his study and looked at the envelope. He smiled, looking at the sender’s signature, and then the smile turned to anxiety. This was one sender he loved to receive letters from, but then he never knew who this sender was. He had still not opened the letter. He looked away, through the window at the mountains that stood in the west, by the side of the lake of blue waters. They were shining, the mountain and the lake, by the glory of the morning sun. His house was located at the end of the gully that started somewhere within the mountains and ended into the main road by the lakeside. Through the window, he could see a continuous flow of vehicles on the road. And of people, who appeared happy, and were proud owners of this luxury called smile. “Luxury - that is what these things are for me”, he thought.
Bhaskar lived in Nainital, a beautiful city, in the state of Uttaranchal, in northern parts of
He was married once, at the age of twenty six, to a beautiful girl, younger to him by two years. His looks never complemented her wife’s. But his neighbor’s did. One day, without quoting any apparent reason, she fled with her lover. On afterthoughts, Bhaskar believed that it was good that they never had any child as it would have complicated the separation process. Since then, Bhaskar lived with his widow mother, whose only concern was to get him remarried, till she was alive. For last four years, he lived alone.
He had moved to this city when he was offered a job with State government’s Water division, a year before he was married. Last year, he took a voluntary retirement. Since then, his only communication to the outer world, through the doors, was done for the grocery shopping and these letters, which he received once in a while; rest was done through the windows.
When he brought back his sight to the envelope, Bhaskar felt the smile was still lingering on his face. He opened the letter and started reading –
How are you? I am good, here, in the hills of Kumoun. The days are beautiful, clear and quite. And nights are very soothing. Generally I sleep well leaving a few exceptions, like last night.
Last night, I saw a dream. It was about you. You were dressed in your grey formal suit. You looked handsome, very handsome. You were accompanied by your mother. I think, it was some function… a marriage function, I guess. Your wife, or rather your ex-wife, was standing on the dais with the guy in your neighborhood. I am sorry but I had to tell you this - you looked sad, very sad. I got up, when you were just about to wish the couple. I suppose, it was good that the dream was gone as I could not bear to see the torture on your face.
Bhaskar, I know you still love her; you still wait for her. But for what? I think you should move on, Bhaskar. Move on, from the stagnation you have brought in your life. There’s so much to do, so much to see, so much to live for. It’s more than ten years now. It’s only she who left you, but what you did? You left the whole world! Your rage is against whom? Your wife? Your neighbor? It’s not they who are suffering, by whatever you are doing, but you. And they don’t have to. Just because your marriage was arranged, it doesn’t mean that the love could also have been arranged. Love can never be.
May be… just may be, you two were never meant for each other. Just because she didn’t love you, it doesn’t mean that the whole world will start hating you. And even if it does, there’s one person who will always love you, and that’s me. I love you, Bhaskar. I love you very much. I can’t see you suffering. I want you to be happy. Promise me… that you will be, will you?
Waiting to hear from you soon.
When he closed the letter, Bhaskar looked in to the glass of the window. He could see tears rolling down his cheeks. He moved closer to the window. The gully below his house was quiet. Only, once in while, a bunch of kids would run after each other. Or a hawker would walk with some stuff to sell.
He tried to think. “Who is this? How does he know so much about me? How does he understand me so well? Why does he always write to me whenever I wish to read from him terribly? How does he know that I need him? Is it he or she?” His mind was full of such questions. But he never got answers to these questions.
But somehow, Bhaskar was not feeling sad at the moment. Not sad; but not happy even. He could not name this feeling, but he was enjoying the moment. “May be,” he told himself, “… just may be, this is the start of something which is known as Happiness. May be, I too can afford luxury of smiles those streetwalkers possess. May be.” And then, he was smiling, when he brushed his teeth. When he had his bath. When he sat for his prayers. When he cooked his brunch. And also, when he ate it. In this moment, he knew that he was being loved, by someone, very dearly. He went on to have an afternoon nap.
When he woke up, the evening was about to set. The dark, orange sunlight was dragging itself on the floor of his room, flowing through the window. He decided to go down the street. He wished to take a walk along the lake. He dressed himself up. While combing his hairs, he looked intently into the mirror. He smiled happily, picked up a marker, lying near by, and signed on the mirror –
I love you, Bhaskar.