Meera stepped in her terrace. In front of her stood the night sky with open arms. Her best friend of Night, Moon was there too, with his face gleaming with silver hues. The stars twinkled at her. The serenity of that night was all the same for her but the time wasn’t. It was not any random night when Meera walked up to their terrace and enjoyed the solitude. Neither was it that night when she wanted to be alone in order to cry her heart out. Nah, it was no ordinary night: it was going to be her last night in her country. Within the next twenty-four hours, she was destined to be in another country, some thousands of miles away from her dear home. For the past few years, Meera was hoping to see her dream come true: a new life in a new country which would eventually open up new directions of her professional life. But at that point of time, the final night that stood as the fine line of discontinuity which embarked on the new voyage of her life on one hand while the old journey of life faded on the other, Meera became suddenly skeptical. A dilemma suddenly stung the softest tissue in her heart: were all these worth her time, patience and hard work? But within the next moment, Meera’s brain removed that piercing pain. Who cared for whom in this big ocean of humanity? “None except her family, the ones who are directly bonded to you by blood.” came up as the answer. “Sounds selfish but that’s the truth. Doesn’t matter whether you like it or not. Some want you to prosper but not more than themselves.”, the inner voice continued.
The breeze gushed through the long gaps of the coconut leaves and the trunks of the two coconut trees swayed as if to say they agreed to the whispering words of the inner voice. Things never turned out to be the way she wanted. Possibly, that’s the rule of life. No plans could ever predict the course of our lives. The uneven bends and twisting turn of her existence had finally destined her that night. Meera was silently aware that many of her relationships would slowly evanescent, just like a piece of camphor vaporizing in thin air. She was mentally prepared for all except one. She knew things had changed within the past few months: with the gradual fall of the number of text messages to phone calls, all hinted the decline of once-forever friendships. Sometimes, the best things in our lives came with the price of the little, heart-touching ones. Well, time diluted the strength of all bonds and for Meera, it was a well-accepted fact. In spite of the world getting smaller and closer to the wireless network of the social media sites yet the bonds that once seemed to be closest to the heart were now fragile. Yeah, someone once said, “Nothing is permanent except Change.” That was one sentence divulged in the horrified bitterness of Truth. True, people change and hence their behavior towards others change too. No one can resist changes; it is as ultimate truth as Death. Again, Destiny held the strings that controlled the changes. Meera wasn’t a person who was so adaptable to the swings of behavioral changes of her close ones while she never bothered about the existence of the rest. All she cared about the ones she loved the most but each one of them dissuaded with time, leaving Meera helpless and lonely.
Suddenly a thought struck her mind: why not do something special for her loved ones on the eve of her setting on a new journey? She did not want to write a good-bye post on her Facebook wall. That might garner some likes and reactions but won’t be creative in any sense. Again publicity in social media was never her cup of tea. It was already hours past midnight and only a handful nocturnal people were awake (well, the green dot beside the names on her Facebook wall indicates that.) Let’s send a special voice message in Whatsapp to the special ones, she thought.
“It’s time to say goodbye to my special friend with whom I have spent my school life, happily studying, playing and performing together up on stage on various occasions. The distance may increase yet our love will never fade! With lots of love, Meera.”
The first voice message was delivered within a flash to Runa, her once-upon-a-time best friend, in her school. Who’s next? Yeah, Oishi, her college friend – how could she even forget her! They had spent multitudes of fun filled moments during the three years of college. But with time, the intimacy of their friendship declined after they joined different universities. Oishi remained busy with her career and a new set of friends. Well, the residue was a just occasional exchange of Hi and Hellos in text messages. And with Oishi came the memories of the whole set of promises – promise to meet at least once a year and at least one movie. Memories of their little group of friends flashed in Meera’s mind. But as time flew, these tiny bonds of love flew away just like sparrows flew from the window sills. Neither get-together parties nor movie dates after college life expired – thanks to the finite lifespan of a “forever” friendship.
Yet Meera believed that no matter what changes the space and time underwent, there was one person whose never going to leave her alone – time would never be able to take a toll on that nexus. Yeah, time and again, Meera’s special friend had always been by her side. He was her constant source of support and she could rest her burdened head on his shoulders with ease. Time never biased in dissolving relations and affected this special relationship too. The ever changing situations, the random incoming of new people and the volatility of human behavior – all culminated to tell upon their bond of love and affection. But Meera’s little friend always said, “You know what Meera, we know each other for the past ten years; you’ll see nothing will happen to our friendship.” He was indeed true to his words: held her hand when she underwent a mental trauma of severe failures in her research career. But again the permanence of the inner strength of these beautiful words always lingered in Meera’s mind as clouds of questions. But my dear readers, Meera was not selfish too: please don’t think Meera used him only in her crisis. For the whole year, her special person was frustrated with his own love life and little Meera was helping him decorate it again with her love. By virtue of natural laws that bound human lives, words remained still but the river of time moved on in its own chosen course, toying with two human lives: Meera and her special friend.
Meera did not realize she was divulged in her own thoughts for such long time. She was recalling each beautiful moment of her life, many times those moments surrounded her special friend and her sweet smile wore on her soft, thin lips. And the moments of sorrow, without her consciousness, brought drops of salty water rolling down from her left eye. Had my dear readers seen her face (s)he would have got perplexed how two conflicting human emotions adorned Meera’s sober face at the very same time. If you could have heard to Meera’s heart, I am sure you would have listened how the little organ cringed each time when her friend expressed his love for someone else. Yeah, deep down her heart, Meera too fell for her special friend only to get rejected from him in due course of time. Her brain was wise: it always said to her, Lord Krishna always played the flute on the banks of the Yamuna just for Radha – the Lord never forgot to take the puja of Meera but he always waited for one and only Radha. In spite of everything going against her love, Meera of the Satya Yug still worshipped the Lord through her everlasting songs while Meera of this age still held on to the strings of their friendship with her love and affection in tact.
The multifarious emotions suddenly halted as slight streaks of light of dawn appeared on the bosom of a dark night sky. The Moon was receding to the west, bidding a silent good-bye. Meera waved back. It was the last time she was watching the Moon in India. Meera’s eyes moved from Mr. Moon. In the sky of millions of twinkling stars, her eyes swayed hither and thither to see one glimpse of it; all her heart wanted to make a wish. It was nothing but a shooting star. She hoped for a miracle! And people say if one wished on a shooting star, miracles occurred. All Meera wished to bring back the long-lost intimacy of Shourjyo and Meera’s friendship, something that has been captured by time, space and intruding people.
Meera screened through the sky, hoping for a fleeting sight of a shooting star. But again Time stood as the culprit. The fleeting clouds covered the sky. Nah, a sight of a shooting star was just improbable. Maybe wishing on a shooting star and seeing the wish come true was not in her fate, she thought. With a heavy heart and eyes smudged with kohl, Meera trudged herself to her bedroom for some sleep.
She woke up on her bed and fidgeted with her mobile phone. Several good-bye and ‘Have a safe journey’ messages flooded her inbox. Meera carefully read each one of them and scrolled down further, looking for one particular message – the one from Shourjyo. Nah, there was nothing from his side. A drop of salty water, originating from her left eye, ran down her red cheek. She knew even if Shourjyo’s message popped up in the Messenger, it would be some links to some web pages carrying funny jokes. But did Shourjyo know that those jokes never brought a smile to Meera’s lips, never made her heart dance like the ones which asked, “How are you?” or a random “Had your lunch?”?
Meera rubbed her cheek and her fingers on her right hand scrolled down the Contacts’ list in her phone. And without much thinking, she tapped on the Call button. As she waited for her call to be received on the other end, Meera tried to erase the duel of self-respect versus ego from her mind. The call was deliberately disconnected and then her phone lit up again. She knew that it was a typical gesture of Shourjyo: he never used to let the mobile network company charge her for calls!
This time Meera received the call.
“Yes Madam, how have you been?”
“Fine. What about you?”
“Was having my breakfast. Will leave within a few minutes for my office.”
The excitement that bubbled up in Meera’s heart, hearing Shourjyo’s voice, gradually subdued.
“Okay. Then I’ll talk later.”
“Wait! Nooo, we can talk now even. No problem. It’s been ages since we’ve talked.”
Meera didn’t utter a word for some seconds.
“You could have called too.”
“You know Meera, life as an office goer is so dull and boring. My whole day is wasted in the office, doing monotonous work. And after coming from the office, I just become too lazy! You know that, right?”
Her mind flew down to those nights when they talked endlessly over the phone: those nights when they shared each other’s problems – one trying to deal with a painful break-up while the other trying to make her research work. They laughed together, cried together yet lived some hundreds of miles away. Late night gossips from traveling to a Maoist-inflicted village in Chattisgarh to selecting each other’s dresses for special occasions and food. Neither of these two foodies was satisfied with the food they had – Meera just gulped the inedible hostel food while Shourjyo tried to adapt his tongue to the new food exotics of his new place.
“Hey, what’s up?” Shourjyo’s voice disturbed Meera’s thought processes.
“Nah. Nothing. I … I just wanted to say I’ll be traveling to the States tonight.”
Shourjyo’s voice cracked as he completed the sentence. Meera sensed an air of discomfort within him. “Wasn’t he happy? He should have been, right?” Meera questioned herself with an implicit answer.
“No one’s gonna disturb you before you sleep. No one is gonna irritate you with idiotic messages. Happy, eh ?”
Shourjyo paused, possibly to digest the information. Then he continued, “So you’re going to be Dr. Ghosal soon. I knew when your offer letter came from the university but never felt that the time to bid the final goodbye will arrive so soon.” The reply was followed by some moments of silence.
“Yeah. We all procrastinate and never understand that our time is limited – too limited to express all to the ones whom we love.”
“Sort of. So, when’s your flight today?”
“9.30 pm. Air India.”
“Anyways, I’ll catch you up later. My office bus will be here within five minutes.”
Meera disconnected the phone. She was happy and sad at the same time. All she wanted the conversation to never end. She was happy that finally cutting the ego, she called him. Some might have said that Meera was lowering her self-esteem. But all she wanted to save their relationship. Well, someone had to come forward and take up that responsibility. Who knew that a word with a person could heal her wounded heart so much! Could you ever say that this might be the last time both of them spoke to hear their voices again? Or might be this phone call would start another chapter of their friendship in an altogether new form!
Meera’s phone beeped: two Whatsapp messages from Shourjyo – “I am glad that you called today. I was stressed when you said that you’ll be leaving. But I will be really happy if Dr. Ghosal makes a good contribution to research.”
“It’s Monday and I’m terribly busy. But at any cost, I’ll call you before 9 pm, I promise.”
Shourjyo was still typing…
“No matter what, you will always remain special to me.”
“This relation is different – different from the ones I have. I don’t want to lose it.”
“Stay safe in the US.”
Meera’s face shone with happiness. She was happy that the miracle happened. No, it was not by the magic of the shooting star. A relationship is saved by the mutual efforts of two persons, and not by the wish one makes to the shooting star. Sometimes, a phone call is worth a million dollars for giving life to a dissuading relationship. This time her lips elongated to a smile and a teardrop ran from her right eye. Who knew her final hours in her country would turn out to be absolutely different than she expected. Well, Destiny and Time jointly gave her a tough competition!
Finally, it’s time to bid a goodbye to the shooting star of the eastern sky and welcome the new era that awaits in Meera’s life.