I looked down at the yellowing page of my journal. It had been a while since I sat down there under the pale yellow light of my desk lamp staring at the lightly dotted page. My pen cannot catch up with the steady thread of thoughts flying through my head. I decided to just sit and watch as the thoughts passed by, waiting for it to slow down enough for me to write it down. This is what happens when you have been holding back your thoughts way too long. That was another thought that passed through me right there. Where do these streams of thoughts come from? Is it the brain that’s churning them out? Or my mind? Maybe my conscious? What is the difference between the three anyway? No, it’s not going to work out. I give up! I threw down the pen and closed my journal. It looks like this is going to be one of those thought days, not writing days. I heaved a huge sigh and sat back in the chair tilted my face upto the ceiling and watched as the fan whirled on and on above me. I’m not sure how long I sat there like that before sleep took over me and I fell asleep.
It’s the last stretch. Past one hour of hardwork is going to culminate in this last 15 minutes of 45 degree climb. I try to steady my breath and concentrate on the rhythmic fall of footsteps. My backpack must be wet from the sweat washing down my back. But the pain on the side of my stomach and my legs where masking the wet mess. Last stretch, almost there I kept saying to myself. Not bothering to look back at Madan who I assume would be right behind me. Trekking is a form of meditation. Walking in silence is what we both prefer. From the beginning we have shared this level of mutual understanding that lets us feel comfortable with each other’s silence. With him there was noneed of making small talks and there was no compelling need to break awkward silences with random chit chat. We were totally comfortable in each other’s silence.
Puffing and panting, we fell into the clearing. We had reached the top. I threw down my backpack and let the wind soothe my tired limbs. Bliss! The opium of every trekker. This rewarding moment. Madan and I stood there for a while looking at the beautiful scenery ahead of us. The majestic green mountains standing tall and proud, light blue sky and the soothing wind. “Sun is going to set soon, lets pitch our tent”, said Madan and I couldn’t agree more. Like a pair of worker ants who just got the queen’s orders, we started our work. And in no time the tent was up. Right in time for sitting down and watching the sunset. I took out a blanket from my backpack and we sat inside the tent snuggled under a blanket watching the sun vanish from the sky. Leaning my head on his shoulder I sighed. This must be how heaven feels. Stars peeped out and in the complete darkness of night, they shone bright like a bedazzled black gown on a pretty lady. We spread the blanket on the grass and lay down staring at the galaxy above us. It was getting very chilly but that didn’t matter. I didn’t want to move a muscle and spoil the magic of this night. We lay there for a while holding hands in silence. “Are you happy Nanditha?”, Madan mumbled in my ears. “Yes, I’m Madan. Right now, right here, right this moment, I’m happy.” “How is Raghav?”, he continued. “Somewhere in LA. Some business trip. It’s been few days since I heard from him. But we are pretty used to giving each other space.” “Did you get everything you wanted from this marriage? Are you happy in the States?”. I paused for a minute and listened to the crickets chirping somewhere to the left of us. Lucky crickets, wish I could be worry free like you and chirp away in this mountains forever, I thought. I could feel Madan’s body tensing up from anticipation as he waited patiently for me to wake from my reverie. “ I got more than I wanted Madan. I got a husband, my freedom and a credit card. Maybe not the prince in shining armour and conventional marriage that I always dreamt of as a kid. It was a shock initially but I soon realized it was better than that. Open marriage has given me complete and unrestrained freedom to explore myself and I have learned to understand that true love is completely free. You let this person fly and you watch and feel happy.” “Maybe I’m a little too selfish to understand the concept, Nandita. But I’m happy you are here with me sharing this tiny speck of your life with me. Just mine for these few hours. After this moment passes, I don’t know when we will meet again. But no one can steal the memory of this moment from me. You, me the mountains and all the stars above us”. Madan gently kissed my forehead and wrapped me tightly in his arms. I closed my eyes and let the feeling of warmth and peace wash over me in this moment of pure unaltered love.
A sharp pain in the neck suddenly shook me awake. My head had just hit the side of the chair. I looked at the clock on my desk. Half past 4. I had slept for a good few hours but it felt so short. Let me jot this down before I forget. I grabbed the pen and opened my journal and started scribbling down the story. The story of Her..