April 06, 2008

Crossing Over

kyun.. khoye khoye chaand ki firaaq mein talaash mein udaas hai dil

kyun.. apane aap se khafa khafa zara zaraasa naaraaz hai dil.

I met you yesterday in my dreams. Did You? I guess not, but then it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we met. Do you remember your irritated room mate used to say that time and space loses its meaning when we meet? Suddenly, I realized that we were in Calcutta. It was New Year’s Eve, Park Street was lit up and smiling and there was a light chill in the air. Somehow I knew it was a dream, it could not be you. And yet, I wanted to hold on. I could even see my friends smiling at me when I tell them about this dream tomorrow. And yet, I held on for I was with you and nothing else mattered.

We walked the walk I have always wanted to walk with you, to take you to College Street and let you inhale the smell of literature. Did I ever tell you Literature has its won smell and it’s the strongest here? You bought “The Bridge Across for Ever” and gave it to me. I smiled. I had given you the same book many years ago. You remembered. I’ll treasure this book forever because you remembered.

Sahid Minar was beautifully lit up as usual. I could see the reflection on your ring. The light danced with the air, touching your face, ruffling up your hair. I offered you my jacket. You refused. You said that the chill felt nice.

We spoke. We spoke of the life that was, the life that could have been. You laughed. The laughter still rings in my ear. Yes, it was the same laughter. You have not changed, at least in my dreams.

Suddenly we were beside the Ganges and you wanted to call the ferryman. I was afraid, I was always afraid. I pleaded you to stay back. You pleaded me to come with you. I suddenly saw you on the boat. You had taken the step forward and I, had not even realized that you were not beside me.

You crossed over. I could see your retreating back, fading into the evening mist of the Ganges. No tears. I told myself. No tears. You didn’t turn back. You didn’t tarry a while. You never even said goodbye.

I slowly opened the book you had given me. It was the same book I had given you many years ago. My terrible hand writing had documented the date and the time. Somehow it had found its way to the second hand book shop. Maybe it was your mother. She must have the habit of selling off your books. Yes, it must have been your mother.

Another ferryman came along. He asked me if I wanted to cross over. Maybe, one day I will. But that day is not today. For if I cross over, I no longer meet you, not even in my dreams.

1 comment:

Shreya said...

The mark of every good bit of prose is that a million people reading it in a million places can relate to it in some manner or the other :)