Sheena Pawar inhaled the petrichor redolence of the Kasauli* evening. Her eyes roved around the luscious lawns of the resort, where the ‘All India Poets’ guild’ had met. Suddenly unheralded, her kohl-rimmed orbs met the slaty pair that had dominated her dreams these past two years, staring right back at her.
The emotional surge hit hard, throwing her down memory lane.
Sheena was in the final year of graduation. The preparations for the inter-collegiate play competition were full-on when they were introduced to Shyaam Gupta, the new English professor.
Sudden mumblage spurted around as Principal Mrs. Mathew rambled.
“Everyone, meet the young and dynamic Shyaam Gupta, an alumnus of the prestigious St. Stephen college. A die-hard Shakespeare fan, he has moved to Mumbai….”
The cacophonic world around her faded into oblivion as Sheena stood mesmerized by the beautiful sparkling greys behind the sleek spectacles.
“Hello everyone…” Shyaam’s bass rumble sent shivers down her spine as he continued.
“Drama, lights, sounds all a package
But then, isn’t all life a stage?”
In the following days, Shyaam’s clarity on multifarious themes and command over English literature enamored her.
One evening after a little celebratory party for winning the competition, while the rest of the students left, Sheena lingered with Shyaam under some minuscule pretext.
The hotel deck overlooking the sanguine dusky skies had never been more appealing, making her heart flutter.
“Um… Shyaamsir… I mean…” She fumbled.
Shyaam smiled, retaining his panache, marking the special moment.
“If music be the food of love, then play on
If waiting be the fate of love, I won’t scorn.”
The subsequent three years of surreptitious togetherness flew expeditiously. While Sheena completed her post-graduate studies, Shyaam became the department head, winning multitudinous acknowledgments in the field.
However, for nuptials, their ‘uncanny’ pairing drew flack, and her parents objected to the alliance.
“…Vedi jhali aahes tu*….” Her father bellowed. “…I will not accept a man like… him….”
Shyaam left Mumbai the very next day for good without even bidding adieu. There was only an audio clip for Sheena.
“I am sorry, Sheena, this wasn’t meant to be.
…My heart shreds in worse case of woe
Ruining your life, a bitter pill to swallow
You know you are my soul,
But there are things beyond our control.’
Sheena jerked back to the present, wiping the streaming moisture away as Shyaam’s name was announced.
Following the mind-blowing rendition, Shyaam took to the mic yet again, his unwavering eyes arresting her in their gripes.
“To the most benevolent and the kindest person here,
The course of true love never did run smooth
But you looked beyond my abilities uncouth
I promise to face my ultimate fears,
For you, I’ll cross a thousand rivers….”
Tears streaming down her cheeks, Sheena nonchalantly ran up the dais and hugged him even as the congregation erupted in applause.
She then pushed his wheelchair towards the exit ramp towards a long night…
There were unsaid words, unasked questions
Their love, blurring barriers was beyond pretensions.
- Kasauli: Kasauli is a small hill town in the north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It’s home to gabled colonial-era houses, orchards, and green-roofed Christ Church, dating from the mid-19th century. (Wikipedia)
- Vedi jhali aahes tu: you have gone mad.
Connect with Penmancy:
Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!