Posted June 23, 2009on:
Aakaash was going back to India after almost fifteen years. He was called as a guest speaker in one of the conferences.
He was sure to meet Aakriti in the conference. They both were from the same subject and she too, he had heard, was one of the leading surgeons of the country.
He was excited, he was nervous, he was scared too! Scare to meet her, to visit lost lane of his life once again. But he had to do it… fifteen years was a pretty long period and he wanted to get over her. Finally!!!
He remembered all those years when he wanted to settle down, wanted to love someone else the way he had loved Aakriti, somehow he just couldn’t. He had his share of affairs, he even wished for some of them to grow into something serious. But in most cases he couldn’t go beyond a few dates and in other circumstances the girls weren’t ready to fight a “ghost” girlfriend!
All his energy was channelized towards his profession and he was one of the leading surgeons of US of A with international fame. The opportunity to go to his homeland had presented itself many a times in the past but he couldn’t bring himself to face his past. Had it not been for his sister to emotionally blackmail him, he wouldn’t have come this time too!
The conference organizers had sent a driver who took him to the hotel where his stay was arranged. He left his luggage in the room and joined the organizers in the conference room. The conference was to start the next day. He tried to find out about the delegates and didn’t find Aakrit’s name. He was a bit disappointed and relieved too since he now found it difficult to face her. But as he was about to retire to his room, he saw a few other speakers joining them and was shocked to see Aakriti among them.
They smiled at each other cordially and he excused himself on the pretext of jet lag. The world was spinning in front of his eyes. Was she the same girl whom he had loved for so long? She had changed with years and the life had not been very kind to her. Or so her face told him! No, he was not only thinking about the grey strands in her jet black hair or the over all appearance. He was bothered about what he saw on her face…the deep lines of worry or probably hatred towards life or something similar! What bothered him even more was the lifelessness in her eyes. Could he be mistaken? He vowed to find that out in the couple of days that they are going to be together. Presently he wanted to sleep. He dozed off as soon as he closed his eyes.
The next day was very hectic with online surgery techniques and other deliberations. Aakaash did not find time to meet Aakriti alone. In-fact he had forgotten all about her during the day time when the scientific sessions were on. They came face to face again at the banquette in the evening. He found her distant, probably she too was fighting with the demons of their past!
As the evening proceeded, he observed that she didn’t seem to be the person he used to love. She was gruff to the point of being impolite even with the senior surgeons present there and down right abusive to the volunteers of the conference. And as he got to talking with other delegates he came to know that this was her usual behaviour. If she was not so skillful in her surgery she would probably not be called anywhere.
At night Aakaash was unable to sleep. What happened in those fifteen years? She was so sweet and full of life when they were dating! He remembered clearly the day she had come to his hostel room and told him that she was getting married to someone who was a family friend. Just like that, she had dropped the bomb and had left. He sat on the edge of his wrought-iron bed, staring in the oblivion for a very long time. That day it had rained heavily, as if heavens were crying for him. He wished she had explained something, anything! She had just vanished from his life. She was junior to him in medical school. He had already completed his MS when he heard that she had joined the same department. He went to USA after that and tried not to know anything about Aakriti.
Watching her the next day acted as a balm to his wound. And finally he was totally free of her. Probably not marrying her was a blessing in disguise!!
But the blessings came fifteen years late!!