On a lazy December Sunday afternoon, Nikita was browsing through her dear moments. The blue Mountain View screen of the laptop was showing, one by one, the magic moments of anniversary, their sixth…the bash on the floor of the Queen’s Pub…that was on Jiten’s forty second birthday and also a few stills, rather some cool pictures of Nikita’s birthday. Last month she turned thirty seven. Sniggers are revolving around her face but no one is there to see and appreciate.
She sighed deeply. Whenever these pictures come to her view, she gets delighted. This time also it was no exception but with a cross. Her laptop screen was unable to show her any holiday moments. For last three whole years, Jiten couldn’t take her out to anywhere outside. His business almost nosedived and he was struggling.
It’s a struggle for Nikita also. It was a sheer love for the sake of which she quit the job of a management trainee. Her comfort level is now nowhere near what it was six years ago. She has no repentance for what she did at past. Still at some point of time, all those golden memories of the past haunt her and exactly that’s happening now. Her soul is craving for a so-called illusive holiday which she certainly knows that Jiten can’t afford now.
She looked outside the window by her left at bedside. The machine on her lap was busy with the sloppy slide show of her year old memories but she tuned on her own mind machine. Nikita put aside the laptop and got off the bed. She slowly walked towards the wardrobe…pulled the right door and went for an album with lots of flowers on its cover. It was kept at the bottom of a pile of winter dresses. Nikita thought.
‘What a coincidence? The album is full of winter moments and it’s below the winter dresses.’
Actually throughout her life before marriage, wherever she was, in school, in college, in job and indeed in love also, her favorite season was winter. The excursions, nature studies, the hangouts and obviously the love tours were all in winter. Nikita very fondly started to turn the pages and her life was slowly unfolding one by one. Just before last few pages, she stopped. Now she went for much slower movement of pages.
A beautiful giant ship, painted white all along with sky blue rims, doors and window frames. Lot of people is on board. Some are loitering, some eating, some drinking and some dancing to the tunes of beautiful jazz music, getting delivered from a large stage. Wonderful ambience all over…as the night grows older, more and more people are rushing to the floor to join the buddies already on toes. Nikita can’t resist herself. She is repeatedly looking at Jiten. But the man looks unconvincing. After all, he is from an orthodox Brahmin family, brought up with a conservative backdrop. But he loves her life very much and she feels it and that’s actually preventing her to disobey the man.
Finally, Nikita resists herself. She is so adjusting.
‘I know you don’t like such hullabaloo. Why don’t we go to deck?’
‘Sorry, please don’t mind. You know I’m not used to.
‘Not an issue, honey, I know it very well.’
‘Please don’t mind. You can go and join them. I’ve no problem.’
For once, Nikita gets jolted little bit. She turns back to the crowd. Her legs are feeling something fantastic. But her conscience is telling something different. After all, it’s their honeymoon tour. This Goa tour is their first long journey after marriage. Nikita has to fight a lot with her parents to get them agreed to their alliance and she can’t afford a worst tour experience post return. Her father is very finicky and eventually may violate their husband-wife relation. Nikita quickly manages her mood.
‘No dear, my feet will not move if you don’t come with me. Better, let’s go and stroll around. We’ve to keep in mind that we’re here to enjoy our time and not to spoil it.’
With a smile, Jiten says.
‘Let’s go for drink.’
‘What a surprise. Do you really mean it?’
Jiten smiles again.
‘What surprise…of course, I mean it.’
Nikita fumbles again.
‘May I have to believe that my humble husband is asking me to go for a drink?’
‘Please don’t be fool of me. Let’s go and make fun.’
Nikita felt pain in her ankles. She stood before there for quite some time. She needed some rest. Keeping the door open, she went towards her bed with the album on her hand.
‘Oh, what a nice tour it was!’
On her way to the bed, she tried to remember the name of the venue. With a little attempt, she could recollect.
‘Oh God, we loved that place so much. It was the hotel ‘Blue Anchor’.
In winter, the Sun sets so early. Nikita was seated East-faced. The room became gloomy and switching light was the only option. She felt joyous with her favorite album in hand. She went towards the switchboard, tweaked the piano switch and the room got enough surface light from the milky white nicely installed false ceiling.
In reality, the hotel was built in a manner as good as a ship. There was a big garden attached to it and the whole garden space was decorated with umbrella, chairs and tables. Most of the time, especially at Christmas and New Year, people gets flocked at breakfast and lunch time. From there, they get out to the beach or other places. Nikita and Jiten booked the hotel for seven days and it covered both Christmas and New Year.
The hotel was at one side of the creepy concrete road and just opposite there remained a medium sized restaurant, run by a local resident. Very well village like atmosphere, the restaurant remained busy mostly at the evenings and at the daytime, very few people took lunch there. As the foreigners never forget their days at beach, at noon mostly the Indian tourists would occupy the chairs.
Nikita and Jiten got to love the restaurant at very first sight. The day after tomorrow, Nikita followed Jiten to occupy a table nearer to the kitchen’s service area. It was then quarter past two. They ordered. One of the boys took the order. He looked a person from any north-eastern states. Jiten asked the boy.
‘Where are you from?’
The boy smiled and answered.
‘I’m from Meghalaya.’
‘Are you a regular here?’
‘Yeah, every year at this time we came here.’
‘Oh really, after that…?’
‘We return back to our places. In other time, Goa attracts very little tourists. We don’t have any job then. So we return back to home.’
‘What you do at home?’ar
‘We are mostly college students. We come here to earn some money.
‘And how many people come down here regularly?’
‘This year, it’s almost more than hundred.’
Nikita was patiently hearing the boy. She murmured.
Very quickly, Nikita and Jiten became very close to the boy and his friends also. They became regular every day till the last day of their stay there.
Nikita paused. She tried to fine tune her time machine and in that way, wanted to remember the most memorable moment of the tour.
Next day, after the lunch was ordered, they say the face of the boy as pale. After a little hesitation, Nikita asked.
‘What is the matter? You look so disheartened.’
Initially the boy refused to brief anything. Then after much persuasion, he opened his mouth. A sixteen girl was in love with him for last two years. She was a British and she was coming to Goa, in this place for last two years with her parents. Even if her parents don’t want to come here, she convinces them. It’s all for the sake of love. She loves the boy too much. This time, she came with her mother. She lost her father some months ago in an accident. She is very sad because she came to know that her mother is going to marry another man on her way back to England. She doubts next year she might not be able to come down to India to see her beloved. She wants the boy to marry her. She wants to stay here. She doesn’t want to go back to England. The boy can’t afford to marry the girl. He has his parents at his home to seek permission and he knows that they won’t allow him to marry the girl. It’s quite impossible to convince them.
Nikita almost came to tears remembering the faces of the boy and the girl.
‘Oh God, did you hear their voices!’
Connect with Penmancy: