The clock struck 2 in the night and Viraj was in deep slumber when he jolted by the buzz of his cell phone. It was quite an unusual time to get any calls. Viraj had no idea who could be calling him at this odd hour. His heart thumped when he gawked at his wall clock with his half open eyes. It was 2.05 am. His heart pounding faster now, he tried to reach for his cell phone next to his pillow with his clumsy fingers. He was petrified to see the caller.
The same old number, forgotten long back or better said, deleted long back. How could he forget it? After all it was the most remembered one. It was remembered every day and every moment, but sadly, only remembered. It was after 5 long years that he got a call from this number. His heart pounding faster now, the air seemed heavy as never before and time seemed to seize.
ANVESHA- It was. Indeed it was Anvesha. Viraj could not believe his eyes. Not long before Anvesha meant the world to him. She was not just his love, she was his unfolded dream, his ambition to build his own fairy tale, the light of his path, his support in distress, his reason to carry on with the day, the melody of his life, his purpose, his reason, his happiness, his past, his present and his future. She was his gift. Anvesha was Gods own endowment, specially sent for Viraj. But may be destiny spoke of something else. It was 5 years now since the day Viraj last spoke to Anvesha. These 5 years had been only but an everyday rendezvous with Anvesha’s pleasing reminiscences.
Viraj with a deep breath pulled out every ounce of his courage and finally answered the call. “Hello” said Viraj. There was a long pause after that. Then he heard the sound of a short gasp. “Hi Viraj” came the reply. This ran a cold wave across Viraj’s blood. He listened intently. “Anvesha here” she said. Her voice still the same was, soft and sweet. It seemed as if it was just yesterday when they had a long chat over the rainy day, the gruesome boss, the new book in the market or just plainly about the dinner or its recipe. Nothing seemed to have changed, except for the 5 years that flew nowhere. “How are you doing……………Anvesha?” This was all Viraj could ask her in a soft and articulated voice trying to control his faltering speech, when he took her name with his lips again after a long time. His senses seemed blurred, not yet enough sound to assure him this was not a dream.
“Viraj, can you meet me?” said Anvesha. Viraj could not believe his ears now. His eyes were now wide open. It was a shock enough now to regain all his senses. Viraj was dumbstruck to this. He had no idea what was happening. He could not answer anything. “I am only for a short while in Vijaypur. I will be gone soon. There are some things you need to know before I leave. I don’t have much time. See you at Mira Park, exactly an hour from now. Bye”. And the line was disconnected before he could even say anything. This left Viraj only more baffled. Hardly could he understand what was going on. Was it a dream or a hallucination or what, he just could not understand.
Viraj suddenly felt weak. With all the effort he tried to stand at his feet and slipped them into his slippers. The air around him felt eerily cold. With great difficulty he dragged himself to the only window of his room. The ground outside was still damp and a gentle cold breeze was still blowing.
Viraj was a person who had always been calm. Panicking was something he had not known. With an ease on his face, he closed his eyes. May be he prayed, not for something good but to avoid everything bad. After all, it was about HER. This brought all the old memories back again like the gushing waters at a high tide in the deep sea. He always avoided this. But this time, he had no hold over anything. His eyes were moist. He was reminded of what he had lost in his life, and he had been missing since then. Life had been tough all these years. Lonely!
Finally, after a long struggle with himself, Viraj made up his mind. With his legs heavy as never before, it took quite a time for him to reach the wash basin and splash water on his face. Even water could not help him awaken this bizarre dream. He then dabbed himself with a towel looking at the mirror. He saw the same old person, tall, fair and thin built with sharp features, slender eyes, thin lips and a sharp nose. He had it all. But that wouldn’t ease the hatred he had for himself. And today the resentment was more. He looked at himself puzzled, hated himself more for something he did or perhaps even did not but he knew there was no other way out. That was all he could do.
He slowly recoiled himself and dragged himself to the closet. He could hardly make a choice of his clothes today. It hardly mattered anyways. He quickly changed into a close knit grey tee and a set of blue pajamas. He picked his car keys and suddenly halted at the door just when he was about to leave. ANVESHA- the name was reverberating everywhere in the room now. He surely had an intuition now. He was heading towards something, which he knew he would never want to.
Mira Park was a small garden which was located about 2 kilometers from Viraj’s home. It was an elegant park lined with Gulmohur trees and a soft grass bed to walk on, lined with beautiful Rose bushes. It gave an amazing ambience for a perfect evening walk. Mira Park was the place where Viraj and Anvesha would go for an evening stroll usually after a hard day at office. No matter how rough the day would be, looking at one another smiling would make them forget their hardships and life would again seem just perfect.
Viraj was jolted by those memories once again. And that was the last time he visited Mira Park. He was driving through the dim lit street and there 200 meters down the road was the gate of the park. Within seconds his car was parked now and he jumped out of his car and rushed in. There was nobody around, except for the gushing the cold breeze. He stood still. It was the same old place, but looked quite new now. 5 years had changed the place quite much. It looked quite commercialized, but at this hour there was no trace of a human.
He walked further to see if he could find anybody. Nobody! He searched across the trees. Nobody! Bewildered, he went and sat on one of those park benches. He looked gloomy and dismal, holding his head in his palms.
“How are you doing Viraj?” a voice he heard just above his shoulder. A startled Viraj turned behind to see the beautiful lady standing behind him. Anvesha and Viraj belonged to the same age in their late 20s. Anvesha was a dusky girl with slender well groomed body, big beautiful eyes, a wonderful smile and long beautiful hair which fell to her hips. Even today she looked as gorgeous as she looked 5 years ago. Her smile was equally mesmerizing.
Viraj, could hardly speak anything to her. Her smile still left him speechless.”Viraj, do you hear me?, her voice as soft as the breeze that was blowing. She still smelled of the same old fragrance Viraj was accustomed to. She indeed was just perfect for Viraj.
“Im sorry, I er…..” he could hardly find any words. Anvesha smiled at him again and they both settled on the bench. “How did you happen to come to Vijaypur after such a long time?” asked Viraj. Anvesha suddenly seemed to be quite upset by something, as if the question which Viraj just asked had stung her.”And at this point of time, is everything fine?” asked a concerned Viraj which he assumed looking at her suddenly-turned-sad-face. “Viraj, after I left to Delhi, everything changed” gasped Anvesha.”I know that was my fault, asking for forgiveness would not justify it” said a rather dismayed Viraj. “No Viraj, you don’t have to apologize for anything. This was meant to be. Believe in destiny. There is something much more you need to know and you will come to know soon. Our actions may seem to be under our control but they just lead us to our destiny. We met, we lost and we will meet again. Life is full of mysteries; let it unravel on its own. What you see may not be real but what you perceive may be true.”Anvesha felt incomprehensible to a blank Viraj.”I don’t understand anything Anvesha. What are you talking?”, Viraj complained. He never heard her talking like this. “Don’t worry Viraj you will understand everything real soon. Just remember that that we will meet soon. I love you.” said Anvesha who now seemed to be rushing. Viraj looked much in despair now, not understanding whether to console Anvesha or compose himself, he just bowed his head and tried to say something, “But we can’t Anvesha, and you are well aware of that. You know whatever that happened; I know it still seems unbelievable, but we just cannot deny that. Do you understand Anvesha?” Viraj looked up at Anvesha. He was alone. He called out for her, he searched behind the trees ran past the gate, which was the only exit, but no use.
Anvesha was gone.
He looked at his watch, it was exactly 4am. A bewildered Viraj lost his senses and fainted near the gate, to be discovered by the watchman who helped him sit regain his senses. Viraj still couldn’t come out of the shock. “Who are you?” demanded Viraj. “Sir I am the watchman. You came out running calling for someone and you suddenly fainted” claimed the watchman. “But where did she go?” asked Viraj feeling lost.”Who sir?” the watchman looked confused now. “Anvesha, the lady who was with me” said Viraj. Watchman replied “I am sorry sir but it was only you whom I saw last night. You came to the park and sat on the bench there for some time and then came running calling out for someone.”Viraj looked much confused now and helped himself to the car and drove home with great difficulty.
It was 5.30 am by the time Viraj reached home. His head span and ached badly. He made himself confortable on the chair and grabbed a bottle of water, just when his phone rang again. It was Rhea, an old common friend of Viraj and Anvesha. Viraj was horrified again to see Rhea calling him so early.”Hey Rhea.” “Hey Viraj, I have a sad news for you.” “What’s it Rhea?” A bead of sweat trickled down the forehead of Viraj. “Anvesha’s no more. She passed away last night.”