Barkha seemed jovial as they headed back to the hotel and Sakshar strangely felt happier than her. He was not able to understand his growing liking for her, despite of noticing her reluctance to accept any romantic involvement. Yet, something was beyond his control. Barkha excused herself for a moment, while the driver went to get the car. Sakshar saw her find a secluded bench and scribble something in a diary. He wanted to go and ask her about it, but fought the eagerness, knowing her introvert nature, which was quite evident by now.
She came to him after writing and the driver too had arrived by then. They reached the hotel by late evening and the sight of Kabir enjoying with his grandparents was simply blissful to her soul. Raghaven told the two of them to have dinner before the buffet closes as they were already done with their meals.
While they sat, dining in the hotel’s restaurant, Sakshar said,
“Don’t you think the amount of food in your plate looks adequate for a bird? You are a human remember?”
Barkha : (Trying to resist laughing) Do you always have something comical about everything?
Sakshar : You can laugh. It has not been declared a crime yet here.
After a moment of silence, Sakshar proposed the idea of visiting a nearby village.
Just then Barkha received an overseas call.
Man’s voice : Is this Ms. Barkha Razdaan? I am Roberto Cavicci calling from the University of Barcelona.
For a moment, the last name hit her like a stone. She realized that she was still using her marital name.
Roberto : Hello Miss, are you there?
Barkha : Si Si, sorry, please tell me what is it about.
Roberto : We wanted to inform you that your official formalities are done and a temporary accommodation has been allotted to you for four members as mentioned in the forms by you. But your joining has been preponed by two weeks. You will have to travel on the 20th of November now as your joining is scheduled for the 22nd of November. We understand that this is sudden change, but the lecturer who was being replaced by you has met with an accident and will not be able to continue with us for his left over tenure. And since the semester is drawing to a close, we cannot take the risk of letting the English classes continue without a lecturer.
Barkha : (Calculating, since it was already 8th November) Okay Mr. Cavicci, please reschedule my flight tickets. I will fly with my family on the 20th itself.
Roberto : That would be great Ms. Razdaan, we will be looking forward to seeing you on the 22nd then. Thank you for understanding and cooperating.
She went back at the table where Sakshar looked curious.
Barkha : I just got a call from Barcelona, I have been asked to travel on the 20th.
Sakshar : Wow, you’re going to Barcelona!
Barkha : Oh, I am sorry. We haven’t spoken much, so never got a chance to mention. I am…….
Sakshar interrupted her, “May I please correct you here? I have been speaking all the time by the way.”
Barkha : Yeah okay, I agree. Well I have got a job there and I am moving with my son and my parents.
Sakshar looked a bit displeased. But preferred keeping it to himself. “Congratulations, I am truly happy for you!”
Barkha : Don’t try too hard Sakshar, I can read your disappointment. Please don’t think that I am being harsh, but I really don’t believe in affections anymore.
Sakshar : I respect your decisions Barkha. May be it is too soon for me to say this, may be time doesn’t really matter when two people are destined to meet, but I just want to say that when you look back, you will find me waiting. There are people who care about you.
Barkha felt an unrest and excused herself.
She reached her room and found Kabir fast asleep. She was too tired to think about anything. A warm bath and a good night’s sleep was all she needed. Once in bed, she kept thinking about what Sakshar had said. Dwelling into her thoughts, she didn’t realize when she fell asleep.
The next morning, she woke up and thought something and after a moment, called Sakshar’s room’s extension.
Sakshar : I knew you would call.
Barkha : What are you? Spy!
Sakshar : What about the village outing?
Barkha : What about a simple stroll in the snow after breakfast?
Sakshar : Yes ma’am.
And it was time for Sakshar to reveal more than what everyone knew about him. He kept on juggling between how he would tell it all. He knew that this moment will come and would bring him to a thin line, where much was at stake.