‘Hello, Malini?’ said the voice on the other side of the
‘Yes who is this?’ she yawned as she frowned at being woken
up in the dead of the night. She was tired and had just managed to doze off
when the phone rang. Who would be calling her at this unearthly hour she
thought as she looked at her table clock.
‘This is Meera; Prateek’s colleague from Seattle. I am sorry
to call at this hour but I have news for you.’
At the mention of Prateek; Malini sat up instantly. The
mention of the word news drew her mind immediately to the worst possible that
could have happened. Why would Meera give her news about Prateek? He would call
her up. What would this lady possibly have to tell her that Prateek couldn’t do
himself? She tried shrugging over the terrible feeling that suddenly overpowered
her; maybe it’s nothing she tried to tell herself. Then with fear in her heart
she said ‘Yes tell me Meera.’
‘I am so sorry Malini; I hate giving this news to you but he
is no more. Actually’ and then came a crashing sound from the other side of the
call. ’Malini are you there?’ said Meera
as she heard the loud thud.
With the words ‘He is no more’ Malini’s whole world came
crashing down along with the receiver. Malini couldn’t believe her ears. Did
she hear right? No it wasn’t possible; she just spoke to him in the morning but
what about the call? She looked towards their photograph on her bedside; they looked
so happy together.
He had just gone there a month back; she was soon to join
him after tying up a few loose ends here in Chennai. It couldn’t be happening
to her. This had to be a nightmare. She closed and opened her eyes repeatedly
to wake up from this horrible dream. But fact was it wasn’t one; it was the
harsh truth of her life. What happened and how; she didn’t even have the heart
to listen to it all. Her cell phone now kept ringing as the landline was off
the hook but she was too shaken up to answer that. She didn’t have the courage
to listen to any detail about what might have taken him away.
As tears rolled down her eyes, she shivered in the middle of
Chennai’s summer; her eyes red and body pale. She placed her hands gently on
her stomach and looked towards the brown envelope that lay by her bedside. It
was her pregnancy report; yes she was expecting. They had finally decided to
plan a baby; they were in that place in life where everything was more or less settled.
She was going to tell him the next morning. Infact he too was anxious to know
the results of her test. Now he wasn’t there any longer and she would never get
to tell him this big news; to see the excitement in his face. She wanted to cry
but it was hard. All she wished for was Prateek. She wanted to bury her face on
his chest and weep out loud. She fell on his side of the bed; hugged his pillow
and cried incessantly.
‘Oh Prateek please come back. Please please come back. Prateek
I love you please come back. I want to speak to you; talk to you and hold you.
Oh Prateek please come back’ she wept and called out to him.
If tears could build a stairway,
I'd walk right up to Heaven
And bring you home again. ~Author Unknown
Hearing her cries; Malini’s sister-in-law, Priya came
calling to her room and found her on the bed with the pillow half wet and the howling
growing louder by the second. All Priya could hear was the name of Prateek and
that scared her out of her wits. It wasn’t hard to guess what might have
happened; the phone off the reciver; Malini crying out loud.
Malini’s cell phone rang again and this time Priya picked it
‘Hello’ she said as she realised it was a call from Seattle.
‘Malini?’ said Meera from the other side.
‘No this is Priya, her sister-in-law. Has something
happened?’ she asked timidly.
‘I am so sorry to inform you Priya, Prateek had met a
terrible accident on his way to office and we lost him. I am so sorry’ sobbed Meera
from the other end.
Priya felt numb but mustered the strength to talk to Meera.
‘Thank you Meera for informing us. Can I call you in the
same number in some time; I need to gather myself and Malini. Hope you
understand’ she said this and hung up.
Priya walked up to Malini and as she sat down with tears in
her eyes; looking towards the room when many a time the three of them stayed up
late chatting and playing games her eyes fell on the envelope too with the
Maternity Clinic’s name printed on the front. She picked it up and as she read
the reports; her heart was overwhelmed with pain for Malini more than Prateek.
It was tragic. No matter how much Priya wanted to comfort Malini; she knew
nothing could soothe her at this point atleast. They cried and with them cried
the stars that peeped into their room from the windows.
With what a deep devotedness of woe
I wept thy absence - o'er and o'er again
Thinking of thee, still thee, till thought
And memory, like a drop that, night and day,
Falls cold and ceaseless, wore my heart
Life is full of uncertainty. Never wait for telling your
loved one how important they are for you or giving that all important piece of
news. Remember nobody knows what tomorrow has in store for you. Living with
regret is one of the hardest things to do. Malini will always live with the remorse
of failing to live her life with Prateek and with an even greater disappointment
of letting him in on what could have been the last joy of his life!
We must embrace pain
and burn it as fuel for our journey.