Love Remains. (Part 2)

Love Remains (Part 1). Cotd..

The past decade was so different from her previous 60 years that it felt like two different lives. The only connecting point being some of her close friends whom she kept in touch with. She never compared the two lives because she was as happy and content then as she was now.

Though he spoke non stop, when it came to describing their relationship, he fell short of words. He could never find the right words to describe her or their comradeship. He said, it is beyond words. On the contrary, she, a person of less words, could go on and on when talking about their relation!

Her diary entry read:

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How do I describe my relation with you, I have often asked myself.
I am amazed that I come up with new answers each time I attempt, 
“I am your anchor and you gave me wings” etc  would be too cliche to say,
Because I was 60 and you were 62 when we met and there is nothing cliche about it.
It could be the age and the wisdom that we acquire with age, 
Both of us had no expectations from each other at any stage. 
We took each day as it came and each day turned out to be better than the other.
We just “showed up” for each other and that’s all each of us wanted. 

Whenever we looked for companionship;
Whenever we looked for a travel partner to go around the world; 
Whenever we looked for someone to cook and clean while sick and not in high spirits;
And whenever we looked for someone to read and discuss the new editions of our favorite authors ;
We found each other always “showing up”. 

Whenever we looked for someone to sip a cup of coffee with on lazy afternoons; 
Whenever we looked for someone to guard and take care of the house while we were out on our solo trips;
Whenever we looked for someone to argue with and win an argument over; 
Whenever we looked for someone to say, it’s all fine and things will be better tomorrow;
And whenever we looked for different things at different times; 
We found each other always “showing up”. 

I still do not want to give a name or status to our relationship
Because that will only limit the scope of  this beautiful relationship.  

I am glad we always “show up” for each other. 

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She was standing under the tree that he had planted in the first year of their friendship. Her eyes filled up. Then she thought of the incident that had led to the planting of this tree  and her lips curled into a smile. She had asked Mr.Big to transfer a plant to a new planter because she was too busy that day. He had taken an hour to take out the plant, take out all the mud and clean up the roots and trim the roots to make it of equal length and then plant it into the planter. She rolled on the floor and laughed when she heard the process. She also realized that he had never planted a tree/plant in his entire life. She took it upon herself to make sure that he planted one tree for each year that he had lived on this planet. That was her motto in life. Every person must leave behind as many trees on earth as the number of years that they had lived on earth. This was one of those trees that he had planted and it was very special to her. 

It was near the same tree that they had made the plan which changed both their lives forever. One afternoon discussion led from one topic to another and by the end of the day they had a concrete plan for their project that they named “Love Remains”. Both of them wanted to give back to the society and they felt it was important to do something at the grass root level. And grass root level for the sake of humanity would be doing something for kids. They chose to build an orphanage cum school for orphans from war and terror. It was a huge step and they worked for months together for realizing this dream project. Her eye for detailed planning and his interpersonal skills took them through this task. They realized that they complimented each other professionally as well. 

Once “Love Remains” was set up, their lives changed. They shared their lives with many more people who were orphaned by war! The result of the war did not matter to them. They were living examples of the fact that you win or lose a war, there is equal misery on both the sides. Mr.Big had always wanted to do something for the war victims and she had always wanted to work with kids inspiring them to dream big and achieve it. She had been a very positive influence on all her students while in college and she wanted to keep doing it. “Love Remains” was their dream come true. 

“Love Remains” was a temple of hope, aspiration and love for all the kids who were enrolled into it. It was an assurance for them that despite all the hatred around, Love still remains in the heart. It was a place where they still felt loved, wanted and special. The atmosphere, the staff and the vibration of that place was meant to kindle the bits and pieces of love that remained in their hearts. There were kids from different age groups and they found love, education and guidance under one roof. 

Time started flying after they started “Love Remains”. In spite of all the running around and management that they had to do during the day, they made sure they spent quality time with each other. During one such evenings Mr.Big complained of slight uneasiness while breathing. She immediately scheduled an appointment for a complete health checkup for him for that weekend. But he could not make it for that scheduled appointment. He breathed his least breath holding her hands, a big smile on his lips and a sign of gratitude and blissfulness in his eyes. He was at peace. 

They had discussed death so many times. Each one knew exactly what had to be done in case the other person passed away first. She did according to what he had wished for. It saddened her to be not able to come back in the evening and have a quiet dinner with him. But she knew there were things that are beyond one’s control and the only way to deal with such things is to acknowledge it and accept it. 

It had been a month since he had left and there were days when she really missed his physical presence. Today was one such day. The heaviness in her heart and the tear in her eyes were symbolic of that loneliness. But like always, she had a series of sessions lined up for the day and she had to get going. Today was a big day because the first batch of kids were leaving “Love Remains” and going to different universities for their higher studies. She had to address them and bid farewell to them. As each of those students stepped up on the stage to thank everyone and say goodbye, she noticed that twinkle in their eyes. She couldn’t stop smiling because she knew that Mr.Big had left a little of him in each of those kids and a big part of him in her. She knew they had come together because they had to achieve this big goal in their life and leave a legacy behind. One of Mr.Big’s children and one of her her ex students had joined them and they were as committed to this cause as she and Mr.Big had been. She knew it was in safe hands even after the two of them were gone.

As she walked back home that evening, her eyes twinkled as bright as the star that she had identified as him! She was reminded of what her father had told her when she was a kid “When you have loved someone so much, and that person occupies such a big place in your heart, their physical absence shouldn’t matter. The person remains there forever and ever.”

That night she wrote in her diary:

Everything goes back to where it has come from.
The body goes back to the earth.
The soul goes back to the supreme.
But then, Love Remains! 

THE END 

 

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Love Remains. (Part 1)

She had always been alone. But never lonely. Today was different. She missed a lot of things and that made her heart heavy. The last time she felt this emotion was 60 years ago. She was 10 then and had just lost her mother. She remembered that day vividly. She was standing on the patio of her house , not able to believe what had just happened. Her mom was with her the previous day, playing, cooking, working and it was such a normal day. 24 hours later her world had turned upside down. Her little heart weighed so much that she had to sit down. Her dad had walked over to her, hugged her tight and whispered into her ears ” When you have loved someone so much, that person occupies such a big place in your heart that their physical absence shouldn’t matter. The person remains there forever and ever.” She never cried after that. Her mom remained alive and guided her throughout her journey.

She always remained busy post her mom’s death. School, College and then Job. And she never regretted. She was a topper in school and university, a top research scholar and she retired as a lecturer from one of the top universities. Her life was good. Her work, her hobbies, her friends, her garden and her love for all those whom she considered worthy of it. Never did she think of finding that “one man” who could be her companion. Never did she think of anything beyond her plans. And she somehow did not plan for a wedding or kids or even pets.

The day she got retired, she was very excited. She had a plan for the next 10 years. Lot of reading, writing, visiting friends in different parts of the world, more focus on health, all these made into the plan.

On the first day post retirement, she rushed to the library early in the morning. She wanted to borrow some books, spend an hour in the library and visit the nursery to buy some planters. Post lunch, she had to be in her garden. As she sat in the library reading , she laughed out loud at a joke from Roald Dahl’s “Marvelous Joke Book”. She heard the man sitting across the table also laugh out loud. He showed her the book and it was the same book. They laughed again. They exchanged their views on the book and got talking about how they had loved to read Roald Dahl’s books since childhood. His favorite quote from Roald Dahl books was “A little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest men.” And her favorite quote was “It’s impossible to make your eyes twinkle if you aren’t feeling twinkly yourself.”

Once both of them finished picking up books, they proceeded to check out. She was standing behind him. She chuckled ” This man is so big. I can easily hide behind him and never be found”. He responded as though he had heard her. He said ” You cannot even be seen when you stand behind me , young lady. You are so petite.”. That is when they introduced themselves. He was a retired Army Officer and had just moved into the neighborhood post retirement. He wanted to settle down in this city because he had spent his childhood in this quiet and beautiful city. 

As they walked to the parking area, they talked about the city, its beauty and how residents had played an important role in maintaining the beauty and serenity of the city. He was happy to find out that she had herself led a lot of initiatives in ensuring that the city stayed away from unwanted urbanization drives.

 He accompanied her to the nursery which was next to the library. He waited as she went through the new arrivals in the nursery and got all the things that she needed. He helped her carry some of the stuff that she had picked up from the nursery to her car. As she spoke to him, she realized that he was a happy go lucky man with a big heart and an even bigger mouth. He spoke non stop. She never liked people who talked too much. But he was an exception. There was something about him that made her listen to him and talk to him. She had met many such men in her college and work life. But there was something about him that made her very comfortable and relaxed. Or had retirement made her comfortable and relaxed! She couldn’t come to a conclusion. 

During the next couple of months, they kept meeting. Initially unplanned in the library or the walking trail or the farmer’s market. Later on, planned, in the coffee shop or for lunch and dinner.

With each meeting, she discovered a softer side of the big man. He never got married. He was the guardian of 4 kids. The kids were of his best friend who got killed in the war. The day he visited his friend’s house after he was martyred was when he decided against having his own family. His friend’s wife also passed away in quick succession and these kids became his family. He made sure they never felt deprived. They were all doing well now. Two of them had joined the army and two were doing their graduation. His eyes twinkled even more when he spoke about them.

She had got used to that twinkle in his eyes. Though they grew 10 years older together, that twinkle in his eyes had remained intact. And today she missed that twinkle and that is what made her feel lonely.

To Be Continued….

That Was The Plan!

The Move.

She moved into the city 6 months ago. She loved every second she spent there alone. Everything that her folks had described as struggle seemed more like an adventure to her. Right from hunting for a place to stay to finding her way through the crowded stations to sending that first email to her client at work… It was all so much fun!

Life back home was easy. It was safe, it was all planned. Right from her kindergarten to her graduation  happened as per her parent’s plan. She did all the right things at the right time. Going for sports classes, dance sessions, violin performance on stage, everything happened as per the plan. Her parents were often applauded for the way they had brought her up.

But then, as per the plan, she was supposed to be in the university doing her masters. What was she doing in that metro station? And was this job as per the plan? She was certain that for her high profile parents, the job of a sales girl in a small book store in a small town was not acceptable. She did not even tell her parents that she was making her ends meet by taking violin lessons for a group of kids in the neighborhood. She was happy. She had figured out her way though it was not according to her parents’ plan for her.

Childhood Training Comes Handy.

In the last one week, she had often thanked her parents in her mind for making her the girl that she was! All the qualities that they had imbibed in her, made her life at work very easy. She remembered  how her mom always made her write a formal email (whenever she wanted her to buy something), when her manager and publishing house complimented her for the explicit and crisp emails that she wrote to them. She remembered how she was made to organize all her birthday parties herself, when she got a pay hike for organizing the maximum book reading sessions in her store in a quarter.

She also wondered what her parents felt about her decision to move out and not do things according to their plan. They did not seem happy. They had put up resistance to her move. But gave in because she was very adamant about it.

The Twist.

Back home, her parents were having a quiet dinner after a long day at work. They had got an email from their daughter about the pay hike.

Mom broke the silence with a chuckle, ” So, how long do you think this will last? Lets see who wins the bet… I am sure I will…. ”

Dad was quick to respond ” Not this time..  I am sure she will be in the university by fall next year. I have already kept the brochure in her room”.

Mom held Dad’s hand and said ” Like everything else, this break was also in our plan. So why did you put up a resistance when she spoke to you about it? ”

Dad kept quiet, but mom knew the answer. He wanted his daughter to think she was doing something outside the plan.  He knew that would make her a strong, confident and capable woman. Most importantly, she would start making her own plans. Mom and Dad knew that she would take a break for an year or two and then get back to college. But in the meantime, she would be a transformed person. They knew that if they had suggested this break, she would not have worked on it the way she was currently doing it. According to her, this was her plan and it was her opportunity to prove to her parents that she could make her own plans.

So, THAT WAS THE PLAN!

The End.