‘Sahab, do you also want a bun?’, the old lady asked.
Leo looked at his chai cup and affirmed ‘ yes that will be good’.
‘Our maggi will be ready in 5 mins or so’, Leo said as he sat down beside Tarun who was going through his phone.
Leo turned his seat to the old lady in the stall,
‘Do you go down to buy grocery and essentials?’
‘ Yes sahab I go’
‘ not your husband?’, Leo asked with interest.
‘No sir just me’, the old lady answered and turned back to her kadhai, moving the onion tomato vegetable mixture.
Tarun had navigated a maggi stall some distance away from their bike which they had visibly missed on the way. It was a small shop next to a a hut. The walls were wearing off their cheap pink colour. Unmatching with the pink color of the walls, blue plastic chairs were unkemptly arranged around green tables. Flies roamed in the air.
Tarun put his chai cup and asked, ‘ What did you really mean by ushering in the welcoming part?’
Leo who was stuffed, looked at him and replied ‘ I meant bhalloing all the healings’
He gobbled his bun and chai and enunciated ‘ I meant allowing all the feelings’
‘But why would you want me to do that stupid. Don’t you want to enjoy this trip’
Leo looked at him and said ‘Then Let us go to Bhula Tal Lake. I guess we misse-
‘ nah no I don’t want to go there let us just. Tarun saw Leo doing the this is why stare. But really Tarun couldn’t travel much. He was exhausted both mentally and physically.
‘just stay here, tarun finished as he sipped his chai.
‘see a h – a ah, Tarun began again.
‘Like I don’t know where to begin. When I started my plans, got a job at Cadence I was happy for some time. Not a long time. Did I know I will end up even more fragmented tired, sleepless and ugly because of my job..
Tarun fumbled and continued pointing at h, ‘ Just look at me Leo. Tarun pointed at his face. Leo stared at him.
White hairs are appearing, big dark circles around my eyes. I can’t survive without my phone. I’ll haplessly stroll around on Facebook and Instagram knowing the social media gives me the greatest dissatisfaction. My shoulders are hunched all the time as if I am reappearing for a competitive exam. I just thought my life will be set after examination, college.. Tarun ended, sighing.
‘Maggi is ready sahab’, came the voice of the old lady.
Leo , who was staring at Tarun, got up to take the plates from the lady.
‘ Now … You know Leo said as he settled down back, Life will never be settled. After examination, tension about college, after college, tension about job, after job tension about boss, after boss well tension about family making..’
‘ Ha! Tarun retorted with a tone while eating his maggi. I was sure about to make one. But Rashmi had to deal with another matter first. Her brain tumour..’ Tarun stopped as if he had given in too much. He quietly turned and concentrated on his maggi.
‘ People don’t know the wheels of a brand-new car will wear around in time.’, Leo said, turning his maggi around his fork.
‘And when they do, they will do a few services. But afterwards they will settle on to the old dreary slow version of the car.’
‘ And you know what is interesting, Leo looked at Tarun who was eating his maggi, ‘ they blame it on life. Life is badd… life is unfair….’
Tarun looked at him.
‘Life needs services, Tarun. Nothing is promised good or gold here’, Leo looked at Tarun who stared at him.
‘But Rashmi She is not here anymore right so what does it matter??, Tarun stood up from his chair. ‘This place.. all it brings is bad memories…’
He took his maggi plate and went ahead, seating himself on the roadside. Leo followed him now.
‘ It matters Tarun. I have learnt this much from my mother that it is good to open up. It means like you are not settling into the old dreary dim version your life has taken up. You are turning your head to a new clearing’
‘ It’s difficult.’, tarun said after sometime ‘Not for you. But for people like me, Yes.’
‘ and we are doing good. We just don’t need to lose our trail and become lazy scoundrels’
‘ But What can I do now? Should I just forget her like that?’, Tarun asked.
‘Should you just forget the last days when she was with us?’, Leo countered back.
‘She was all but against being pitied. She wanted to just feel normal and better during her last days. It wasn’t even about you’
“ The thing is Tarun.., Leo exhaled OUT and said ‘maybe she realised it better than all of us… to live a good life till it ends. Her end was just a week more away. But she did not already die one week before’
Tarun turned to look at Leo. Leo continued ‘ we will never stop feeling depressed at instances. This is very normal dude. The thing is.. each time we feel low isn’t the end of everything. We can always talk, do something relaxing, and pay attention to ourselves. My mom and sister keep saying that men keep holding things up. It inevitably comes out as vomit. And picturing vomit does it really solve the problem? Just abhorrent shit it is.’
Tarun asked ‘ I didn’t pay much attention?’. It was less of a question and more of an answer. Leo nodded and started eating. Tarun snorted and looked ahead.
Cuckoos chirped in the air. Pigeons descended on the roadside moving around. Distant moving of bikes and cars on the road ahead could be heard. The shoving of utensils was perceptible.
It was this much silent.
Then Tarun, as if being nudged by a sudden itch, broke the silence that had taken over. As if remembering something , he shuffled out his wallet from the back of his jeans. He took out the passport size photo of Rashmi out of his wallet. He looked at Rashmi who was dressed in a plain blue shirt.
Yet smiling and posing for the camera.
Tarun ‘s head felt befuddled. As if someone had pushed a hand through his mind, disfiguring the parts. It took a tone and he started sweating over his head. Soon pits of drops formed below his lashes.
‘Ok you know what?’, Tarun spoke, this time through bleary eyes.
Leo who was finishing his maggi grinned at him and asked ‘what?’
‘ It’s not going to be easy.’
‘Had I said something in French?’, Leo asked.
No it is never going to be easy…
There are two idioms ‘took to heart’ and ‘took heart’. ‘Took to heart’ means to let something deeply affect oneself. ‘Took heart’ means to cheer oneself up and move on. Likewise, there is a thin line, an almost indiscernible one, between deterioration and acceptance. Though as it is with most things, there Is a definite possibility to see that line and understand which side one is on to..
In this hurried life, every person seeking their own goal
No time that allows existence of a calm, tranquil soul
All of us busy looking for unanswered dreams.
As we look at the broken hearts with low esteem.
The question perhaps is to feel or to not feel?
But ain’t a life without emotions inhuman, unreal, unfathoming?
We plan for so many places, so many sights to travel and see.
But if a sight one, once arises a feeling.
More than just the ‘hilarity’ it accompanies
Just take a pause from discovering everything.
Or from discovering
Other than ourselves only.
So hey guyss we come to the end of this series!! Hope you all liked it😃Well both of us enjoyed being Tarun and Leo. What about you? If you are new here you can definately check on the other two parts!
Which character could you relate to most? This was a project we both enjoyed doing very much( We fought very much!) Poetry credits and the illustrations credits go to Khushi while the story writing credits go to me( Kunjal)😃
Finally we would love to read all of your thoughts below!