“Ohh my my” … Joy started murmuring this inside his head.
It is impossible to board the train coming, it is already fully crowded. While a station full of people already eagerly waiting to jump inside, Joy could not figure out how to fit inside. He tried to walk back, but it was too late. The crowd, acting as a tide, pushed him inside of a compartment.
Among all these rushes, Joy could not think clearly. Earlier in the morning while he got the idea, he thought it would be a journey down the memory lane, and let’s explore how the city has changed in time. But he did not imagine, it could be such overcrowding experience.A few years ago, this was the route Joy used take, this was the train, he used to board. Today, Joy had come urgently to the city. His aunt is hospitalized, last stage, she wants to see Joy. That is why he postponed his meetings and came to his city for some days.
What amazed Joy, that he can’t think himself, as one of the crowds now. What a pity, these people plan to take this journey every day, every month and year onwards. He feels distant, also he feels relieved that he could pull himself out from this maddening crowd in the starting of his career only. Now he has an exciting career, own car, flat, living his dream. This city has nothing to offer him anymore.
Now also he did not plan for this train journey earlier. Today, after landing to his city, he first booked an app cab, direct to the hospital. But the rainy season could not let him stick to his plan. Most of the roads are jammed or blocked, sitting inside the car for hours, Joy had to think of alternate ways to reach hospital within visiting hours.
So, he had to get down in the middle. He already knows this route like anything. Two years ago, he took the route every day to reach to his university. This was the fastest route to reach to his university.
That time not alone though, he had Reeta with her. Reeta loved to take the train. Though she used to tell it saves time, but the actual reason was she used to love the ride.
Joy was thinking aback to the old days. Reeta used to love small buys she made in the journey. There were some hawkers, selling small things inside the train. Reeta will look around, bargain and buy something from them, it was her favorite part of the journey.
Not only that, she loved when Joy bought things for her. Thinking about those times, unknowingly Joy had a smile on his face … those small things, a key ring, earrings, hair accessory, candies etc… Reeta used to adore them, Joy never knew those small things can be such precious to anyone. The pure smile on her face made Joy really confused.“Why do you love these things? They are cheap, would not last even a month…”- Joy said
“No dear, you see, I will make it last at least for a few months. They are so cute, no?”- Reeta
“Huh!, will see, I bet these things can’t last. Let’s go to the mall once, I will buy you a cuter earring from there.”- Joy said
“No no, no need to go to mall and buy those fancy things. See this one, such a cute color.”
“Buy me this blue one, please, you gonna have a surprise tomorrow, I promise…” Reeta begged.
Joy had no other way other than to fall deep inside those illusive eyes.
… Next day he was surprised. Reeta occasionally wears traditional dresses, but the next day she came wearing a blue saree and the earrings he gifted her yesterday and held her hand. Amazed by the surprise Joy could not take his eyes off Reeta that day. ” Told ya… the earrings are looking cute or not?” Asked Reeta with a hint of blush. ” Yes, but you, my baby, is cutest” Joy said while putting a soft peck on her cheeks. That day they didn’t go to college and went for lunch and a movie. Such small things but Joy feels like it happened yesterday only.
Huh… how mind plays with Human emotions- Joy told himself. Standing in a overcrowded train, while getting continuously pushed by random people, in this sweaty humid atmosphere, he could still cherish all the memories of that day, can recall all the forgotten details.
The day went well, but he remembers that day only, two stones came out from the earring Reeta wore. With a cheeky smile on his face he looked at Reeta, “see this is what I was telling you, these cheap things never gonna last. Not even a day and now it is damaged”.
Reeta confidently told “happens! Not a big deal. I am going to fix this. Will buy a glue and fix the stones”…
.. if we easily throw out our things for petty reasons, we won’t have things to hold on to, ever. This one might be cheap in terms of price, but it is too valuable to me. It is a gift from you, I would never be able to throw it. It will be fixed easily, and I will flaunt it again in front of your proud nose. Got it? “.. Joy could still hear Reeta’s voice inside his head.Those were the days, filled with love, warmth and each other’s support. The world seemed so colorful around them. With dreams in their heads and eyes filled with promises as they wanted to be together forever.
However, after completing their education Joy understood he has a bigger dream. He got a job in another country. He knew Reeta can’t join him leaving her deceased parents behind. Joy had to choose his career over Reeta. He left the city. Reeta tried to be in contact, tried to call, emailed him. But the new life, new friends, different Time zones was enough to break the older bonds. He doesn’t even remember, when Reeta slipped out from his life.
Today, going through the same train, all those memories cluttered inside of him and let sigh out remembering Reeta. On his defense, Joy knows it is not easy to maintain a long-distance relationship and he needed to focus on his studies that time. if not, he could never reach this position in his career ever. Let’s not feel guilty about it.Joy got down from the train and went for a local tea stall nearby. Ordered a special tea and was wondering around. The place is still same, not many changes. Suddenly to his disbelief, he noticed the person coming towards the stall. He can’t be wrong, he still remembers this style of walking. It was Reeta only. Reeta still comes to this stall?Joy could not stand there, he wanted to run back… What if Reeta sees him, what will he tell if she asked why he left her? Oh rubbish! what’s left to tell each other after these years. No need to think about excuses after this long. Why he is even thinking these, act normal Joy, calm down”- Joy scolded himself.
He finally gathered the courage and went Infront of Reeta. Reeta looked up and stood still. Her eyes went visibly big, showing the silent shock she was enduring inside. Calming herself, Reeta spoke. “Hi Joy! It’s been so long seeing you.”
“Just landed to city today, my aunt is in hospital, came for her” Joy told. “Never thought I will meet you like this suddenly… You haven’t changed, how are you Reeta?”
“All good. Listen, I am in hurry today, need to go. You have my phone number na? It’s still haven’t changed. Will catch up someday. Okay, bye!” Reeta told in a hurry and walk away.
Joy stood their silently. No, he was wrongly thinking soo many things, looking for a proper excuse. But no, no need of thinking so much. Reeta has moved on already. Yup, life is soo long and unpredictable. It takes twist and turns and Reeta is mature enough to understand it. Why would she still wait for him or expect explanation from him. They have already drifted apart to different roads. Joy was feeling lighter after the meeting. The hidden guilt inside him was melting down gradually…
While few steps after Reeta was standing in a corner. She could not stay any longer In front of Joy. All these days one question kept bugging her, what was her fault? why he left her… she always wanted to stand In front and ask it directly to Joy. She owes an explanation of this break up from him. All the sleepless nights, breakdowns, self-doubts given by him cried for a definite answer.Today she got the chance. Joy was In front of him. She had all the time and Opportunity to clear this out. But as soon as she saw how Joy’s face got pale seeing her, she had all her answers. Joy don’t want her back, he doesn’t love her anymore.
He was clearly searching for excuses to justify his deeds, she isn’t precious to her anymore, just an old burden staying as a guilty corner of his heart… this not how she wanted her Joy to feel. So, she had to show this indifference and come out of the place.
She knows lots of love let people feel indifferent about the person. She needed to show that. She also thought she is going to hate Joy, hate for ruining her days, playing with her emotions. But then how come she could hide the droplets trying to come out of her eyes. She must not show her weakness to a stranger person. She can’t let Joy know that he is still the reason for the teardrops. She had to walk away…
Reeta started walking straight to her path again. If she would have looked back she could see, Joy is still there. coming to her, passing the crowds towards her.How could he forgot the clip tied on Reeta’s hair. That cheap local clip, which Joy bought her years ago… it was very precious to Reeta then. She is still wearing the same one. Joy feels a greater urge to question her, “is it still precious to you Reeta?? Is there still something to hold on for us?”…