If only !

Shreya lets sit there’ said Vikas as they passed through the crowd towards a vacant bench. They were on their way to Ooty for their anniversary; five years since they had tied the knot. They were happy together; well atleast Vikas was while Shreya was like a placid lake with depths too profound to even fathom. She was a dutiful and caring wife; infact a little too much at that. She never in the entire span of their marriage so far ever fought or demanded anything from him.

Their's was an arranged marriage though Vikas fell head over heels in love with Shreya the moment he set eyes on her. That was more than five years back and now they were together waiting for their bus to Ooty to spend some quality time together.

Shreya and Vikas both worked as Software Professionals; they led a busy life. Shreya a little too much; at office she always would be neck deep in work while at home she would at all times be on her toes rushing to meet the needs of her family. They found very little time for each other. Vikas made efforts but Shreya just couldn’t make the time. Finally after many years Vikas succeeded in coaxing her to take a break from all that for a romantic retreat.

Finally the bus arrived and they took their seats. As they left the city behind, Vikas felt really happy; he looked towards Shreya who has fallen asleep awfully quickly. She looked so calm and beautiful as the moonlight lit her face. He held her hand and closed his eyes looking forward to make this trip a memorable one for both.

After a few hours as Vikas lay sound asleep, Shrey opened her eyes and looked towards him. She wasn’t sleeping; not one bit. She wasn’t calm; she felt a pain in her heart one that she had been carrying ever since they got married. Tears rolled down her eyes as she looked towards Vikas and then turned towards the window. It was hard; she carried a secret and intended to keep it that way but this trip was making it harder for her. What was the ache, the anguish that was haunting Shreya?

We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.  ~Kenji Miyazawa

Six years back

It’s beautiful Rohit!’ exclaimed Shreya. She was so happy to be finally in Ooty with him. It was their first vacation as a couple; ofcourse a secret one at that but all the more exciting.

So what are we going to do for three long day’s madam!’ winked Rohit.

They had been together for five years all the way from the very first semester of college. They were not merely seeing each other; infact they actually complemented each other. They truly were made for each other; the quintessential pair. Shreya made up for Rohit’s temper being the calmer one while Rohit made up for Shreya’s childlike nature being the more matured one in their relationship.

They entered the room and looked out of the window towards the hills and the small but enchanting train station that lay there in the quiet of the night. It was blissful. They stood there hand in hand happily looking forward to more such outings in the future but next time as husband and wife. With a glass of wine; they began their three days of escape together which eventually became the most precious memories of their life. They danced in the rain, cycled around the town; trekked and spent innocent blissful moments together.

But their happiness was cut short a few days later when parents from both sides refused to heed to their desires. There was no way they would allow Shreya and Rohit to settle down together. Efforts were made but all met with stiff resistance because the infamous caste and society bane crept up in the open; destroying what could have been a match for eternity!

Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night.  I miss you like hell.  ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

Shreya woke up to the sound of horn and as she looked around there was Vikas still in deep slumber. They had reached Ooty; the same place where she had spent moments which now were the sole reminiscence and strength for her to get through this long life! As Shreya alighted from the bus Vikas took her to their hotel.  Shreya waited in the lobby when she heard someone call her name from behind but it wasn’t Vikas. She turned and was shocked to see Rohit there right infront of her eyes. Yes it wasn’t a dream it was indeed Rohit.

Rohit’ she stood there perplexed at the situation.

Before Rohit could say anything a woman walked up to Rohit from behind; held his hand and pulled him towards the gift shop. She hadn’t seen him speak to Shreya. Shreya took a long hard look at her she was beautiful and she showed Rohit a something that she wanted to buy. As he paid for it, she hugged him and kissed him on his cheeks.

I hate the day, because it lendeth light to see all things, but not my love to see.~Edmund Spenser

Shreya could look no more; she turned away and walked towards the other side of the lobby. The lady was obviously Rohit’s wife. Shreya was filled with jealousy and sadness all at the same time. She couldn’t bear the thought of Rohit with another woman but then what could she do as she herself was there with a man she never managed to love. She slowly turned back and saw them leaving; Rohit all the while trying to catch a glimpse of Shreya while his wife held on to him tightly. Shreya cried and wailed inside to see her love being taken away from her once again. She wasn’t happy and this was probably how she would be for the rest of her life.

As soon as forever is through, I'll be over you.-Toto

What was the good that her parents’ were talking of when they forbade her from marrying Rohit? A question she pondered upon every moment of every day! As she stood there deep in thought, Vikas walked up to her and they left for their room. While Rohit was playing the part of a good husband; Shreya too donned the cloak of a devoted wife; but the truth was both were living a life of lies for the vanity of elders who believed more in regressive dogmas than in love itself!