It has been eight years since Ronit had last seen Akshita. He is sitting in front of his Laptop, his eyes fixed on a particular photo from a series of photos of all the girls named Akshita. He hovers upon her profile picture but something prevents him from clicking on it. Entering her profile would be like letting her enter his life once more, and letting her take control of his life. In the small box that the picture is, she is with a man who clearly has to be her husband. He is not sure but he is contented at not being sure of everything. The pursuit of knowledge about someone after a certain point in time in the past was a one-way tunnel with no exit. Trying to know about her would be like entering in the loop of investigations, to know all about her and the man she was with in the picture, of how they met, was he any better than himself, and then the biggest question, if she had ever loved him. He has typed her name on the social media platform more than ten times in the last few hours and he knew it was getting crazier every time the clock ticked.
The last few days had been devastating, he had recurring dreams of her, and in the dreams, she loved him just the way she used to when they were still together. He saw her naked, in his arms, just like he had wished after he had first met her. “You dream what you constantly think of” she had once told him. But he had stopped visualising her naked since he had got to know she was married, not out of any moral scruples but because it hadn’t seemed right. Yet here he was, years down the line, when he had convinced himself that he had moved on.
Seeing her in his dreams was a sensation that he had not felt for so long, a sensation that he had lost touch with since she had gone away from his life. He wished they were together. He wished to tell her that he still loved her. He wished if she knew that now was when he needed her love the most, those warm assurances. Everybody he knew wanted to know the reason for their separation and ended up telling him that they never thought that the two of them would ever separate. Their separation triggered a kind of reaction that fetched more and more people showing interest in their lives, his life. Curious to know about all they had missed. No wonder sad stories sold well. But he listened to these interrogations and their judgements on his life in passivity. The truth was he didn’t know the reason. All he knew was the fact that it had seemed inconceivable in the beginning that he could live another day without her. But he had lived. The night when one of their common friends had told him about her marriage, he had wanted to cry, but he hadn’t. Life became a constant battle between contrasting things. Capabilities he was hitherto unaware of had begun to unleash themselves from within.
An event from the past surfaced; some three years after they had separated he remembered about her belongings that he had kept as keepsake. He made his way to the wardrobe and opened the drawer, inside it was a heart-shaped key-ring, a wristwatch stopped at 02:47, a chocolate way beyond its expiration date, and her camisole. He had locked the drawer lest any of his friends opens it and finds the ladies’ vest in it. And then one day, he had finally mustered the courage to open the drawer. He took the camisole out, and smelt it. It had smelt like the wood from the closet’s interior and smelt nothing like her.
Thinking about Akshita led his thoughts to Sunita. A woman they knew so little about. A woman who was always looked upon by everyone he knew as being tyrannical. What was about her that made her what she had become and how she had chosen to live. And notwithstanding everything else, Sunita was an inevitable part of their lives, his life. He typed Sunita, and her profile picture popped up. He clicked on the picture. The profile picture was a selfie taken by her nephew. She is sitting on a chair, her back stiffened, with her nephew’s outstretched hand providing the camera with a sufficient angle to capture the woman who had scared so many girls for so long. He zoomed the picture in and saw her smiling, something he had always believed she was incapable of. The nephew also looked different, he had put on some weight, and looked much healthier than when he had last seen him, when once they were almost about to be caught in the act by him. He felt an urge to know more about Sunita and her nephew. The truth was he wanted to talk to somebody from the time when Akshita and he were still together. As if Sunita would corroborate that Akshita was not a dream. But to Sunita he was a stranger and going to Sunita would mean entering the street where it had all begun. The street that was so improperly illuminated that night, the lightning in which was so contrasting as if it was trying to warn him about something…
The picture used along along with the post has been taken from here.