It was a long ride. And he was tired. Tired of the travel and the world he has left behind him. Atleast for another couple of weeks nobody will be there asking for reports or return on investments. He was free like a bird now. But he realized only when he is set free his heart felt heavy.
Not everyone likes loneliness. Only people who can live in the present can be happy when they are alone. Others if they are alone they are in a bad company. He was in a bad company then. All the days he was running to make money to make a family. A family with her. But she is no longer with him. Missing her is a very small word to say. She was the color of his life. He never knew colored hens were beautiful until she let one of them to peck in her cheeks. He loved the mark that left in her cheeks for few more weeks. She brought life to his materialistic world. She did everything he wanted to do himself and that is why it hurts more when he looked beside the empty seat.
It was a long drive and he dont know where he is going. He set off two days before and now crossed a state border. The cities and villages wound up and he was into the mountains when he saw a man with camera in his blue jerkin and scarf around his neck was waving at his car. Mukesh was not sure to stop or not but he realized he cannot be alone anymore. He did not want to talk. But he needed someone.
The man came near Mukesh when his car stopped “Mr. I fear that your back wheel is going to be flat soon. I wonder how you didnt notice it”
Mukesh didnt notice it as he was thinking something all along. While looking back he didnt know what he was thinking for the past two days. He didnt even thank the guy who notified the flat tire. He just got down to see and when he saw there was no spare wheel in his car he started kicking his car. The other guy waited till Mukesh vented out all his anger and then came to him.
“Do you smoke?”
“What do you want?”
“An answer” The guy was having a pack of cigerattes in his hand gesturing Mukesh to take one. Mukesh took one and the other guy lighted it for him.
“This was not what I planned when I started” Mukesh said after a long silence.
“Lets walk, I think I saw a group of people going this way by two cars. They must be able to help us”
“Well now we are walking, That makes us two”
There was something about this guy that Mukesh was not able to say No. They walked in silence. He was humming an old Hindi song all along. Mukesh felt it was a similar tune. She used to sing it for him, on drizzling nights which always made him smile. He used to come running down his office to have a word or two with her on those days. Thinking about the song now brought only tears.
“Have you lost some one?” the other guy asked.
“I dont want to talk about that”
He didnt say anything but started humming the song from the place he left it. After few seconds, it became unbearable Mukesh asked him.
“Cant you see the song hurts me? Why are you doing this?”
“I sing because I am happy”
“She used to love this song. Its always a treat when I heard this song when she sung it for me. She did that all the time. She sang for me in karoke. This same song. And now she is not with me. Shit! I dont know why I am telling all these things to you”
The other guy patted the back of Mukesh and they walked some more distance without a word. The group the man said was in the side of the road taking photos. The other guy walked enthusiastically to them
“Hey! Do you want your photos taken? I can help you and no I dont charge anything. Its just that the whole group can be in a photo or two”
The guys were happy to find a photographer after a short photo session, the guy convinced the group to take their spare wheel for a small sum of money. He didnt let Mukesh pay for it. They started walking back to Mukesh’s car.
“Why were you doing that? Taking their photos? Just for the wheel?” Mukesh asked.
“No. I like to see happy faces. Espescially through my viewfinder. It makes me feel more alive. After all thats why we are here in earth”
“Havent you lost anyone in life? Or is it so easy to move on?”
“The answer for your first question is many. The second question is no”
“But my love to all of them remains still the same”
“But they are just heartless to leave you like that you know”
“I know. I know how it feels now to you. Probably your pain is six months old or one year old. After a couple of years, you will forget the pain but the memories, the good ones will remain with you and you will cherish them forever”
“You must be kidding. They stabbed us in our heart without so much as blinking”
“And we are passionate enough for them to take the stab in our heart without so much as blinking” the man said and started laughing.
“I dont understand you” They both had reached Mukesh’s car and the other guy started removing the flat wheel and fixing the new one. The road was empty and the climate was cold. There was mist and they were not able to see more than ten meters ahead of them.
“This moment is beautiful” Mukesh said.
“My father was a farmer” the other guy said. “We used to plant a lot of seeds and look after them for six months or seven months. That is hard work I say. But when the saplings grow, weeds grow with them. You cant help it. If you want to poison the weeds, it will kill the hard work of seven months. Tell me Mr. What will you do if you were my father?”
“I dont know. I am not much into farming”
The other guy chuckled. “You must learn it. It has wonderful experiences and lessons for everyone. My father said, he started loving them too. Loving them like he loved the saplings which he had planted. That is how it works dear man”
“I dont understand anything. I dont understand why she came and why she left. Just causing me so much of hurt.”
“You dont have to understand that friend” the other guy said. “Just savor the moment. You have to give it some time. You gave time for the one who left you to come and occupy your mind. You have to give some time for her to leave. Its the process and I admit its painful and then its gone for good”
The man prepared to leave, gave a hug to Mukesh and started walking in his way.
“Wait! Who are you? Why did you want to stop and help me this much?” The other guy stopped.
“You dont have to understand anything friend. We just talked about it. Enjoy the moment and savor it for life time”
“Yeah, I cannot forget this place. Your help. See the nightingale also sings for us now”
The other guy chuckled. “It was singing all along. Its just that only now you are opening up” and disappeared in the fog.
Mukesh started the car and thought “What a fool I am? I should have dropped the guy somewhere.” He drove his car into the fog in the direction in which the other guy went. But he was not able to find anyone. He just disappeared.
Mukesh didnt switch on his stereo. The song of the nightingale was enough that night