Needless to say, he was thinking of her the whole week. And when Tuesday finally came, his knees didn’t hurt while running up the stairs. There she was, radiantly occupying a library chair, an identity card dangling rather awkwardly from her neck and resting on her relatively flat chest, and a book in her hand ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’. Numbers were exchanged under the table. Waiting turned into long texting sessions, an abrupt strong connection was formed. How many lifetimes had he been waiting for her? He couldn’t remember. Love happened.
After a couple of weeks winter vacation started and she went to Delhi where the temperature doesn’t hesitate to fall to the negative. She promised to send pictures though and text constant updates. One morning her words sounded morose, “what happened?”, He asked, “you know you can talk to me about anything”
“Honestly, I can’t tolerate winters. I have a high fever and have already vomited thrice since morning.”
“Then why did you have to go there in winter? You shouldn’t have!”
“I know, but Baba really wanted to. After Maa left us to pursue her ambitions with another man, it’s only me and him, taking care of each other’s happiness. His happiness means everything to me”
“I….. I’m so sorry. I did not know.”
“You don’t have to be sorry. It was a long time ago and I am used to her absence now. Gotta go. We are going to Taj Mahal today. I am so excited, I will send you pictures. XOXOXO”
He couldn’t sleep that night. Several thoughts ran through his mind but one in particular kept him awake,”What if she dies out there and never comes back and like those love stories we never meet?”
He blocked the thoughts.
Next morning when her text didn’t arrive at the usual time his anxiety made him start a chain of monologue beginning with “good morning” and ranging all the way up to “please don’t die!”. He couldn’t heave a sigh of relief even when her text finally came,”Hey Doby! Sorry I couldn’t reply, I am in hospital right now, I vomited blood again and the fever got much worse”.
“You will be ok, right?”
From then on, at every dawn he would be awakened by phantom vibrations in his phone and he would hallucinate of texts that never came. Every morning he would begin the same monotonous monologue of texts hoping that some might reach her.
It was from her friends that he first came to know of the cerebral tuberculosis. That she was admitted to a hospital in Delhi. About the surgery she was about to go through.
He waited, waited and kept on waiting. And his prayers were finally answered. She came back. After 6 months of prolong waiting, profuse sobbing, contemplating she came back from the dead and there was no end to their love.
He would leave no scopes to touch her, feel the tenderness of her skin. Her fragnance would make him sniff her like a Bloodhound. Her fragnance! God knows her fragnance was ethereal.
She wasn’t that sickly, thin girl anymore, she was plump and tender, adding a red tinge to her pale complexion. She was perfect! They could have lived happily ever after, only if….. The doctor hadn’t intervened. That damned doctor! She was very unhappy with him seeing a neuropsychiatrist. So much that it drove her to sever all forms of communication with him. His messages remained undelivered, his calls were answered by a woman saying,”the number you are trying to reach doesn’t exist”. When he tried reaching her parents, he was met with anger, incredulity and bewilderment.
Everything seemed so bizarre especially when his doctor tried to explain that she doesn’t exist,
That he suffered from schizophrenia, that she died in a hospital in Delhi during surgery. That she never came back.
God doesn’t simply cease to exist because an atheist claims so. The fear of suffering is worse than suffering itself, so he would suffer in search of his Snow, because no heart suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a moment’s encounter with God and eternity.