गौरी। कुछ ५ साल की थी जब उसकी माँ इलाहबाद की गर्मियों की चपेट में आ गयी और २ दिन में ही इस दुनिया से चली गयीं उम्र इतनी नहीं थी कि सब कुछ समझ पाती, मगर पापा थे, भैया थे, दादी थीं, तीनों बुआ थीं. खयाल रखने वाले काफ़ी लोग थे। ज़िन्दगी इतनी बुरी भी नहीं थी। फिर कुछ सालों बाद उसके पापा की दुसरी शादी हो गयी। पापा नयी मम्मी के साथ रहने लगे और गौरी और उसके भैया इलाहबाद में चाचा चाची के साथ। कुछ दिन सब ठीक रहा, स्कूल भी ठीक ही चल रहा था दोनों भाई बहन छुट्टियों में पापा से भी मिल लेते थे। गौरी छठीं कक्षा में पहुंच गयी। फिर एक दिन अचानक ख़बर आयी – गौरी मर गयी।
मर गयी? कैसे मर गयी? कुछ भी तो नहीं हुआ था उसे।
पता चला किसी ने ड्रग्स की आदत लगवा दी थी उसे।
ओवर डोज़ ने उसकी जान ले ली।
गौरी मेरी ममेरी बहन थी
Its dawn. The sky is beginning to turn pink with hope and I am looking towards the dissolving stars. Soon, I know, soon there will be light and I will see you. For now, I am content with feeling the curves of your body with my hands and feeling your warm breath on my face. The sweet fragrance that I inhale when you are around intoxicates me. The words you utter sound like music to me and I picture you in my mind. You are perfect, and if there is anything more I want it’s a glimpse of you.
I step a few paces away from you so that I can see you completely, from head to toe. I want to bask in that sight, I want to remember it forever. I have waited for this day since a very long time and finally I know that day has come. I can almost hear the music I’ll play for you, see the picture I will click of both of us together and the places I will go with you. I have lived my life just for this one moment. The moment of truth. To whisper sweet nothings to you, and hear them from you. I have spoken with you so many times, almost daily, sometimes for hours together. Today I have decided I will meet you.
I dip my feet in the cool waters of the lake and I feel your presence. I am waiting for the first rays of sun. I want to see the rays touch your face before they touch anything else.
“Are you ready” I say.
“I am just a voice in your head” I don’t exist. I am just your reflection. I am your dream, let me be within you” You reply.
The two of us get up and leave quietly.
Photo credit: Chris Paul 2014 via Foter.com / CC BY
She had met him that evening, and chatted for hours that just did not seem long enough. They dug out memories, laughed at silly and goofy things they did and those that they could but did not. Amused at the flush of youth that engulfed them, they became teenagers once again.
She caught herself unawares that night, thinking of the time long past… a time when no care in the world existed, nor mattered except the matters of the heart. The time when she fell in love for the first time. The time when she was touched tenderly, kissed for the very first time, and caressed lovingly. The moments that were frozen in time.
And then she looked by her side, towards the love of her life, her best friend, her lover and her biggest strength. Somehow things did not feel out-of-place.. the moments then and the moments now kind of existed in congruence. Both men were by her side at different times and both made her more beautiful, made her the woman she was, and she is. She silently thanked both of them for being the people they are. One a dear friend, and another her soul mate.
“Go straight inside baby” Bhiku the rickshaw wala told her before dropping her off at the gate. It was the month of July, schools had just re-opened and all of 8 year old, Gulgul, the girl with chubby cheeks felt liberated. It had rained heavily in the afternoon and at 4 o’clock when the school ended, the roadside was full of big and small puddles making her mind race and imagination run wild as she sat in the rickshaw to reach home.
And there it was, a huge puddle just outside the entrance of her home. There was a stone way through the puddle to the veranda of the old bungalow and it was easy to reach the door without getting her feet soiled -as she was told time and again, girls ought to behave demurely and in proper fashion, she even started to walk on the pathway. One step and the second one, she saw her own reflection in the puddle, stood there admiring the sky being reflected in water. Continue reading Gulgul