Harish came back home after his daily afternoon walk. He had gotten a box of Dairy Milk Eclairs, his grand-daughter’s favorite. He said a “hi” to his wife and went directly to the kitchen. He quickly made 2 cups of fresh ginger tea and took them out to the balcony. He looked at his beautiful wife who was sitting on his table in the living room, smiling radiantly at him. Harish and Saraswati have had 35 glorious years of togetherness in complete bliss. Every evening Harish would make 2 cups of her favorite ginger tea and then they would sit in the balcony on their easy-chairs and spend an hour reliving their fond memories of the day and engaging in sweet nothings.
2 years had gone by since the day she broke their promise of dying together. Harish had never imagined a life without her. He didn’t want to. So every single day, Harish would make 2 cups of tea and sit in the balcony looking at her photo and would talk to her gleaming eyes and tell her how empty his life had become. Everyday Harish’s reminiscence of his beautiful past with Saraswati reminded of his wretched present. “How could you leave me alone?”, he would lament.
Today he was looking back at his day and all he could see was vacuum. His son and his daughter-in-law were busy in their own lives and had no time for an old man. He also had silently resigned to a life of non-existence. He found it easier to believe that they had a lot of love for him but didn’t express it enough. He was content with the fact there was always Saraswati smiling at him from the photo and the skies. The only thing he now looked forward to was his cute little grand daughter. Everyday she would hug him and kiss him before she ran off to school. Then he would wait for her to come back and repeat that ceremony. Sadly for him today, even that didn’t happen. Radhika had ran away to school oblivious of his presence. He felt she was growing up!
He was feeling very restless today. He could not read the newspaper because his glasses were old and overdue for replacement. “Dad, please manage for a couple of weeks. I am quite busy now. Will get you new ones after my business trip late next week”, his son Raghav had reluctantly agreed to do him a favor. Harish felt a lost opportunity to kill 2 hours of his dying life. Complete emptiness was driving him crazy and it made him even more nostalgic about Saraswati. He felt a deep urge to read her letters to him when they had fallen in love. He went to the store room (he no longer had a room for himself) and started digging through the dust. After an hour long excavation, he found nothing. His heart missed a beat. “Did they throw it away”, he sulked.
He came back with a heavy heart and resigned to his loneliness when his grand-daughter came running in. She seemed happy to be back from school. She gave him a smile on the way. That was an oasis in his day at the desert. She freshened up and then came back to him. She was hiding something with her hands behind the back. She came close to Harish and gave him a pack of freshly roasted groundnuts she had gotten from the roadside. Harish loved groundnuts ever since he was a small boy. His heart smiled. That was enough happiness for a week!
But then she had much more. “Grandpaa.. I have got a book for you. And since Dad is not getting you your glasses, I will read it for you. Listen carefully okay..”, she went on. Harish was looking at her like a small child when she started reading Saraswati’s first letter to him. His joy knew no bounds. Happiness had bid him goodbye at his wife’s demise. But today Radhika had brought it home with her. She had taken all the letters and made it into a beautiful book.
Harish hugged her tight. Tears were rolling down his cheeks. He couldn’t find words. He didn’t have to. At that moment Harish saw Saraswati in the gleaming eyes of his grand daughter. He realized that she had not gone anywhere!
- A short story by Raj.
- A short story by Raj.