“वो साल की पहली बारिश , आज भी याद आती है.
तुम्हारे बारे में आज भी ये शामे कहानियां सुनाती है.”

I was standing on my balcony and sipping my evening tea. The sound of kids laughing in the summer evenings makes me feel less lonely in this crowded city. The retro song on my Alexa was playing and all I could think about the moment when I had him. People say, life goes on and we forget about the one we loved. But is that how it works? Is that how being in love works? Every day, when I sip my tea and look around I find him with me in my solace. He was not my forever but I loved him and the kind of love I have for him still makes me feel young.

“What makes you feel that you will not fall for someone again? ever? How you are so sure, that this is love and we are meant to be?”- He asked me on a rainy evening when I was sipping tea and he was holding his cup of coffee and looking into my eyes.

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I wish I could have told him how I felt about him. How much I wanted to stay and look at him every evening while sipping our favourite beverages and we would have just talked about how we messed up but we found our way back to each other, How his eyes – his starry eyes light up my whole life and before him, I was just dark and he painted everything. I wish I could have told him – how much I loved him. But it started raining that evening and I thought maybe there will be another time when I will tell him how much he means to me.

“इश्क़ का रंग था तुम्हारा मुझमें, सिखाया भी था प्यार तुम्हीं ने.
पर तुम्हारा दिल था कहीं और, भले तुम थे पास मेरे ।

वो बारिश में भी तुम उसकी कहानियां कहते थे,
मैं चुप रहती थी, और तुम बारिश को देखकर अपने इश्क़ के बारे मुझे बताते थे.”

He knew how I felt for him, all the days and nights when he was by my side asking me questions and pushing me away. I used to sing his favourite songs and tell him that it is alright if he does not love me the way a man should love his wife. It is okay and I accept that it was devastating but you cannot push someone to love you, can you?

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But he loved me. He never admitted but he did. When in all the rainy evenings we were inside our home standing on this balcony listening to all the retro songs. He looked into my eyes again and stared at my smile. He asked me again, “You know, I love someone else. Someone like you deserves all the love and care they give to people. I do like you as a friend but I can never give you the kind of love I have for her. She was my everything, she was my first love.”

I smiled at him and said “You know, I never asked you to love me. But whatever we have is what makes me content.”

It was funny that I found my love in a man whose heart could never be mine but he was my husband and I had him. I had his presence, his care, his smile, his concern, his body but his heart? It belonged to someone else. We talked about her love because it made his soul happy. How he used to tell me about her made me happy but sad as well because she had his love and I on the other hand just only had him and his scars but I loved him for it. Because He was my man. He was my part. He was someone I loved.

“वो साल की पहली बारिश की शाम थी , हम दोनों टूट कर रो रहे थे,
काश तुम जाने से पहले वो भी कह जाते,
जो हर बार शायद कहना तुम भूल गए थे।”

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“I am sorry, I have wasted your life. Haven’t I?”- He chuckled. Tears were streaming down from my eyes. I was holding his hand tightly like my life depends on him. I wanted to engulf his soul, I clenched his hands tightly and cried. “I know you loved me.”- I said, in my heavy voice but I was whispering to him. “How do you know?” – He asked me. “Because love is funny and overrated. You stayed for us, cared about me, throughout the journey even when you denied the love – you stayed with me. Stood in all the thunder and lightning and protected me. Though you never said you love me – somehow, you offered the love which was left in you and it is what I choose.”- I smiled at him and he looked at me with his cheeky smile and cupped my face. “Take care, my wife.” – He said and I knew, this is the last time I am going to hear those words.

“तमाम उम्र का इश्क़ एक बार में देकर चले गए,
हम यही ठहरे थे तुम इस बारिश में खुद की यादें देकर चले गए।”

I smiled at the thoughts, and when the world turned dark I sat on the bed and looked at his pictures. The retro songs on Alexa were still playing and it started raining again. He left me alone in this entire world at the age of seventy-three. How foolish to think, that in order to love someone you need romance. In order to love someone, you need a whole relationship. I had a relationship for a long time he was not in love but he was there. I was happy and I still am because In this era, where love is just about bodies. Where we use the word love itself to fulfil our selfish needs.

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He was with me because of us not even love, he turned my life magical without saying he loves me. He loved me in all the possible and affectionate ways but he never admitted he was in love because often, we confuse the feelings. We think that our past was our love and they had our heart but a part of his heart was with me which is why he never left me which is why marriage does not need me, I love you. We never needed I love you. I smiled at his picture hugged it and just like the pouring rain, my heart cried for his presence.

“अब उस साल की बारिश भी थोड़ा सा दर्द दे जाती है,
एक इश्क़ था हमारा, उसकी कहानी हर बार कह जाती है।”