The nights were always eerie and grim, replete with muffled voices and walking figures from her past.
“All you are capable of is writing. Tell me what concrete have you done regarding your responsibilities towards Kabir and this house? Do what you wish to with that sick life of yours!”
Tears festered in her eyes. Even in that drowsy state, her mind couldn’t rest for a single moment.
“I cannot leave her. I am not that kind of a person. I love you and you are the best thing that ever happened to me. But I am marrying her and this has to stop. I don’t have the courage to shatter her heart.”
Shouts of Samay and those last words of Sakshar obsessed her sleeps and she woke up with a sea of tears, letting her loud cries be unheard as she dug her face in the pillow and burst into one of those countless episodes of lamenting hysteria.
I am strumming on the corner,
About to catch the last train home,
I will have to jump the barriers,
So can you spare a penny for my thoughts…………..
Distracted by yet another memory, his first song to her, ironically was her everyday morning alarm. Tom Walker’s Fly Away with Me was more of a love anthem for her. There was a satisfaction she received in mourning over that void, perhaps it made her realize her unconditional love for him or did she still hope for a miraculous return?
Her mother was almost banging on the door.
“There’s a call from India. It’s urgent. Barkha! Wake up beta!”
“Okay mummy, I got it! Dheere boliye please(Please keep it low). It’s Kabir’s holiday. You would wake him up like that!” Barkha said, tying her white silk robe. Her eyes fighting with the morning light.
Running bare foot on the extravagant Kashmiri carpeted floor, she went to the living room to attend the telephone call.
“Hello, this is Barkha.”
“Good morning Ms Barkha, this is advocate Saahoo. Please accept my apologies for calling this early, but I thought you must be acquainted with this at the earliest.”
Her nerves felt the twitching and she could feel her hair raise on the neck.
Advocate Sahoo continued, “ Samay has withdrawn from his earlier affirmation to let you have Kabir’s full custody. He is reconsidering the matter. His dwindling from earlier statements seems to be a result of his sister’s and parents’ doing.”
Stricken and after a moment of silence, “Oh…………I would appreciate if you could guide me through this Mr. Saahoo.”
Saahoo: I will make few documents and submit it first thing in the court today, before any move from their end. I would need your signature on some of these papers, which I will send across in few hours. I wanted to remind you that you will be required to return to India as soon as it’s a year, to re-file for Kabir’s temporary custody, six months of which have already passed. I suggest you carry a good income proof with you. That would serve to make your case stronger in terms of seeking Kabir’s full custody.
Barkha: Ji Saahoo sahab. I will be waiting for the documents. Thank you.
She almost fainted in the chair besides the teakwood chest, the receiver still dangling down.
Anjum: Barkha! Oh bachha, kya hua? (Oh baby, what happened?).
Anjum knew the battle her daughter so determinedly had been fighting. It seemed like ages since she last saw a sense of relief in her eyes. She knew this look on her face, it yelled of a fear of losing Kabir to Samay.
Barkha: I am fine mom. I think I should accept the university job at Rome.
The Sapienza University of Rome had offered her the job of English Literature lecturer, for which she was given two months of consideration period. A week was left for the offer to expire. She knew the romantic as well as piquing memoirs that the city had for her. Samay had taken her to a two week long honeymoon to Italy. But least did she know, that she would fear, her favourite city in the world.
Barkha: I will inform aunt Valentina about it. I will also send the letter of acceptance to the university today.
Anjum: Are you certain you want to do this Barkha? A place being a part of your hurtful memories might not be a very good idea to be re-visited and relived.
Barkha: I know what you mean mumma. But I can go to any limits for Kabir I would rather live every day of my life midst painful reminiscences than a moment without Kabir ma.
She gulped down the tears. Anjum hugged her emotionally bruised daughter and hid her own tears of helplessness.
Anjum: Well then, no second thoughts. Let me call your father and brother and inform them as well. It would take some convincing though, knowing your father’s temperament when it’s about you.
Raghaven, Barkha’s father and a retired Indian Defence personnel, was visiting her brother Shamit, at Long Beach, LA in the states. After living in Florida for almost four years, Shamit had recently relocated to Long Beach at the west coast USA. Raghaven was assisting him in all the shifting procedure. Single and well settled, at 28 Shamit had only one reason for not marrying, he wished to see Barkha free from the long years of suffering. All her financial needs were taken care of by him. Had it not been from Shamit, Barkha couldn’t have relocated to Barcelona, at such a short notice.
Barkha resumed in her bedroom, trying to catch on some sleep. After much efforts, she finally played her another favourite song, Ed Shereen’s Perfect. Rising from the bed, she still danced with a pillow in her arms, assuming like always, her waltz with Sakshar, which was still a fragment of her dream.