Three years of my past stood at the door.
“I brought something for you to eat.” He goes straightway to the kitchen. Beautiful aroma of samosas fill the air. “Go, sit in the balcony, I will join you.”
I am flabbergasted.
I stand at the doorway with images flowing in front of my eyes. I stand there watching him, trying to see what had changed in him in last two years. Some seriousness has emerged on his happy face. A line or two have come on the forehead. But the eyes, still have the same effect over me. And the little mole is still in the very place, below the lower lip. I skip a beat.
“Lost again in thoughts? You haven’t changed.” He is standing in front of me with a tray in his hand. I cannot get a word out of my mouth. My mind is a battle ground of points and counterpoints.
Am I happy to see him? Am I still angry with him? How does he feel about me now? Should I tell him about Sudeep?
I sideline them all and decide to focus on my coffee. “It tastes good. You made it?”
“No. Santokh did. I remember you like to drink coffee after a nap.” I know what he is referring to. The first time we made love, I had dozed off and he had painstakingly made coffee for me when I had woken up.
“I prefer tea now.” “Since when?”
“So, what are you doing here? Following me?” I try to change the topic.
“Our unit was called for the Kosi flood rescue operation. I was going to Dumrao when I saw your jeep crashed. I didn’t quite expect you in the jeep. Got you out myself, couldn’t miss the opportunity.” He winks. Nothing had changed in him, he was the same jolly flirty boy of his NDA days. “Santokh said you are a trainee SDM here. Congratulations. ”
“Thanks”. We both had nothing further to say. Sometimes even long silences are so comfortable with certain people. The view from the balcony is beautiful. Green spreads till the horizon with little white houses here and there, resemble a painting. The sun is going down into the oblivion. Suddenly, his phone buzzes.
“The CO has called for me. Take care. I will see you soon. And its good to see you. ” And just like the storm he went away as quickly as he had come. Leaving me in pieces behind. I begin to reassemble myself.
He doesn’t seem to be affected at all. Does he not love me anymore? Why would he? Maybe he has moved on. I have moved on too, I am engaged now.
I toss and turn in my bed all night. I wake up with a thriving headache and missed calls of Sudeep and Dr Malik.
I am quickly summoned to the Collectorate.
“Come in, Saumya. Take a seat. Meet Captain Kartik Rana from Rajputana Rifles. His unit is leading the rescue operations. You will assist Captain Rana in Dumrao.”
He is looking straight at me with a light in his eyes. I would have given anything to know what was going in his head at the moment. I shake hands with him.
“Pleasure, Captain.” Penny for your thoughts?
“I love you, Rana.” I take a deep breath. “I am astonished at this intimacy. Who would have imagined, we of all people, to fall in love.”
“I always knew this would happen. This is the place I have dreamt with you. This is where we belong. ” He loops his arm around me in the blanket and kisses me, his mouth lingering on mine, teeth grazing my lower lip, making me shiver. He tastes of honey. I can’t remember how long it lasted but when I let go off him, I miss it already.
“The tehsildar Ashok Babu will meet you at the site. Two trucks of food packets and medicines have arrived from Lucknow. Make sure the packets are distributed and send a report to my clerk by evening. The Home Minister might take an aerial inspection today.”Dr Malik takes a pause to catch up on his breath. I switch back to present.“And be careful this time.”
“Don’t worry Sir. The lady is in safe hands now.”