Barkha joined the University of Delhi as an English lecturer. Raghaven and Anjum were doing their best to try and make things normal for Kabir as he began his pre-school close by. Shamit was all set to leave for Florida, to pursue his higher studies.
Barkha’s divorce plea was accepted by the court, but the custodial battle was a long road ahead. The case dragged at a snail’s pace. But that didn’t stop Barkha from growing into a financially capable single mother. Kabir was growing up adoringly and was turning into a chatterbox, as Raghaven would often call him.
It was 2014, Kabir was now 4 and Barkha was planning to relocate to a distant place. Samay’s constant visits on the pretext of meeting Kabir were turning out to be disturbing for her. Every time he came to visit Kabir, he picked up a fight with her, ruining the day for Kabir, instead of giving him some fatherly affection. She had filled an application for an English literature lecturer with a university in Barcelona and was awaiting their response. She was making most of her time in brushing up her Spanish language skills, which apparently, she was already good at.
But Samay’s consent letter was a pre-requisite for any travels outside India. She knew that he would never give permission for this. But now she had no fear of him or his people.
Barkha called up Samay and asked him to meet her at the café in an hour. He arrived few minutes late and spotted Barkha at a table. After quietly exchanging glances,
Barkha : I will not drag this in different directions, so let me just come straight to the point. I have got a job in Barcelona and am moving there with Kabir by the end of this year. As the court directive says, I ought to have your written consent letter to take Kabir along with me…….
Samay : (Interrupting Barkha) That’s not happening. If that is what you have called me for, then I am leaving.
Barkha : I am not finished yet. (Producing a legal document) Here, take this. This says that I am a victim of domestic violence and abuse at the hands of your parents and you Mr. Samay Razdaan. So, let us not stretch it beyond its capacity. Unless of course, you want me to file this too.
Samay was shocked. Of course, he knew the Indian law and understood that what Barkha said wasn’t untrue.
Barkha : This said, you can come and meet Kabir whenever you wish to and for as long as you want.
Samay remained silent and signed the consent letter and left in angst.
Barkha had received confirmation of job from the university a day ago and had begun all the formalities. As they gathered for dinner,
Raghaven : Barkha, I have decided that Anjum and I will come with you. We will be staying with you and Kabir. I know they have certain limit on the Schengen tourist visas, but we will eventually work things out. Before you come up with your views, let me just say that it is my decision and I am not seeking your opinion on this.
Shamit had also cleared his interviews with a California based firm and had promised Barkha to finance her stay in the coming months.
Gautams were due to relocate in December, which was four months away. Two months passed in all the paperwork and visa formalities. Barkha wanted to get away from all the chaos that had kept her distanced from everything that exists beyond the strife between Samay and her. The family decided to go for a week-long holiday to Gulmarg.
Nestled midst pristine white sheathed mountains, Gulmarg was the ultimate bliss. The season’s second snowfall had left it looking like a perfect place to forget all that ever existed. Kabir couldn’t get enough of snowball fights with his grandparents. They knew that Barkha, a quiet natured person that she was, needed some time to herself.
One morning, when the snowflakes adorned their rooms patio, Barkha couldn’t resist the urge to step out for a walk. Even though the idea was crazy enough, but she was as wild at heart as she was quiet outwardly. She took out a diary from her bag and wrote down something hurriedly and shoved it back inside the bag. Wearing her boots and coat she stepped out in the frosty morning. It was quiet, simply the most tranquil sight to behold. She walked on until the road came to an abrupt end. As she looked around, she saw a broken wooden bench and sat there to meld in that moment. Tears welled up in her eyes, but she couldn’t fathom if those were the tears of joy, or of missing Samay. “Do I still love him?”, she asked to herself.
“And I thought quietude doesn’t speak!” A voice startled her.
She stood up alarmingly. A man stood there, who seemed to be in his twenties and quite tall.
“I am sorry, I will make a move. Bench is all yours”, she said and started to walk away.
“I am Sakshar,” he said.
She looked at him, nodded and walked away.