Forbidden Path

Forbidden Path

As soon as the clock struck 11, Priya left her work and called out to her daughter, “Kiya, can you please hurry? How many times have I told you to tune into 101.6 FM before 11 o’clock? You know how I hate to miss even a minute of this program.” She impatiently tried connecting her phone to the Bluetooth speaker. These technicalities always baffled her.

“Mum, why can’t you learn this damn thing.” Kiya sounded frustrated. The speaker kept making “chak -chak” sound till Kiya finally connected the phone to the Bluetooth speaker. Priya seemed excited as her heart was set to revisit her nostalgic memories.

Every Friday, Priya traversed back in time as she listened to her favourite program, “Ye un dino ki baat hai” on the radio. It brought back memories of 1989 when she was in Bangalore for an internship. 

Priya settled comfortably in the reclining chair and enjoyed the melodies, one after another. No one disturbed her for the next two hours. They knew it was her “me-time” of the week. 

She closed her eyes and drifted into another world. She knew it was a forbidden path she was taking. She had teenage daughters and she was also happily married. But memories came flooding and she had no control over them. ”They are harmless,” she thought and drowned herself in the song that played on radio, ”Karvatein badalte rahein.”

Amitav was managing the restaurant where she joined as an intern. Tall, handsome and extremely polite, he was a typical hotelier. She looked at him in awe every time she attended his briefings. She tried hard but couldn’t gather the courage to speak to him. And whenever he addressed her, she would stutter. She was nervous when he was around. A week passed and gradually they became comfortable in each other’s company. They started spending quality time together and felt a strange attraction towards each other but neither admitted this. They shared common interests be it their hobbies or retro music. He even shared some of his cassettes with her, a prized possession in those days. Six months flew and she returned to Bhopal. Her heartfelt a little heavy but then there was no commitment from either side. The first thing she invested in when back in Bhopal was a“Two-in-one”, that played both, cassettes, and radio. Initially, they kept in touch through letters but that died a natural death. Priya got busy and she forgot about him. Once in a while she played the cassettes he had given her and she felt a tug in her heart. They were all that was left of his memories.

As she continued to rock the chair she sighed! She felt a tear roll down her cheek. How she wished she had kept in touch with him. The songs that played every Friday brought back his memories.”Maybe he is listening to the same in some other part of the world” she thought and smiled. 

“Aah! Biryani looks tempting. Just the way Ma made.” With a jolt Priya opened her eyes.That was Akash,her husband. It was an indication that her me-time was over and everyone wanted lunch.She decided to wait for next Friday,when the melodies took her back into the past and she relived memories that were hers alone!
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Nisha Tandon
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