Ravi waited for her at the bus stop but she did not come. Had he said something that had hurt her? Time and again he looked at the end of the road. But, she appeared nowhere in sight. Frustrated, with endless queries strangulating his mind and innumerable conflicts bursting to the seams, he trudged back home.
On his way home, Ravi met Dr. Paul.
“Hey there young man!” he called out. “What’s wrong with you now-a-days?”
Looking at the bespectacled, short and inquisitive Dr.Paul, Ravi straightened himself up. No way was he going to become the sickly patient of this impatient doctor!
“Good evening Doctor.” Good to see you” Ravi answered back. “See you soon. I am in a hurry right now” Ravi said and hurried away fearing he would be caught on the wrong foot.
There, she sat in the warm security of her home engrossed in conflicting reflections of her own. Everything around here seemed normal. Then, why was her mind on fire? It was cool around her but she was sweating profusely. The continuous swinging of the unlatched window pane made her heart palpitate faster. Virginal white jasmine, small and beautiful – they grew in her heart. Their fragrance touched her soul transporting her into the world of unimaginable joy that permeated her very being. He always presented her with jasmine flowers whenever they went out together – The same string of delicate petalled flowers that adorned her hair.
At her place, the cloud of depression had spread all over – in the room, on the bed, on the mantelpiece, in her heart! In the midst of all this came her maid- round and stocky but blessed with a heart of gold.
“Baby, can I get dinner ready for you? It is steaming hot. Your favorite Gobi Manchurian and Dum Aalu” she asked enthusiastically.
Reshma was startled. “No, no. Not now. I need to go out. I..I… have to meet somebody” she stammered and rushed quickly out of the house.
Spending time in his company was always one of life’s great pleasures. The string of jasmine flowers added to the joy. They seemed to enhance their relationship. A glance at any flower vendor would make him turn at her, smile and rush to buy those flowers just for her! How she loved those times!
Ravi had reached home. But, of what use was it? Her thoughts seemed to seize him with such extreme intensity that Ravi felt he would suffocate. Water! Yes, that would help but would that quench his everlasting all-consuming thirst for her? He slumped down on the sofa and switched on the television. Pictures danced before his eyes – blots of figures and specks of dots buzzed in his ears and blinded his vision.
There, she rushed out of the house to be greeted by a welcome drizzle. The cloud of depression had literally turned into a shower! She hurried with fast steps and deep breaths to the place she knew so well. As she made her way through the shower her mind kept flashbacking into the past. Emotions of rage and anticipation, of conflict and apprehension crossed her heart and mind. He had always managed to hurt her with his dignified grace.
“Why do you insist on doing something for me all the time?” she had asked him once, enraged with his constant obliging nature.
“Because… because… I want to” he had replied with firm determination.
He seemed goodness personified and that disturbed her. How could anyone be so good in today’s world, she reasoned. Was his emotion genuine or just affectation? Could they be like the fragrant flowers used to decorate the deity in the temples as an offering of devotion? But then, flowers could be even worn around the wrist of a singer blending music and fragrance! The bridal bed is strewn with jasmine flowers heralding the auspicious union of two individuals too!
Time passed. It always does, never stopping for anyone. The flower vendors too keep selling their lovely flowers for devotees, housewives, lovers and friends alike. The bus stop was there too but it seemed deserted. Not a soul was in sight.
She waited for him but he did not come. Had she hurt him with her indifferent attitude? Time and again she looked at the end of the road but he appeared nowhere in sight.
Would they wait to meet each other again? Would they keep waiting for each other forever?
She walked back home. On the way, she glanced at the flowers being sold but there was no one to buy them for her. Their fragrance permeates her very soul even today, years after that last wait at the bus stop. She turns to the soul now-a-days. It presents her with a string of flowers everyday. The jasmine flower……