Thursday, 1 September 2016

Short Story 2016 Longlist Anmol Ankita

Our Stars

“Happy valentine's day sir!” I whats-apped.
“Me and valentine?” he responded.
“Oh come on sir. This day is simply an excuse to rejoice, for all those who’ve their loved ones around. You won’t be spared!”
“Ha-ha! Thank u Annie. God bless u.”
The moment urged me to ask if he has ever encountered that eternal bliss of being in love. Nevertheless, i was aware of his miseries, the uncertain life he was dealing with. Days passed by and the thought had apparently faded from my conscious mind. Though few remnants still hooked up in the corner therein.
Ever since the PET scan, he seemed lost. The paleness of the disease had already engulfed his charm. He was heading to Mumbai again; uncertain of how many days will he be stuck. All he asked was to see him off at the station. I did follow his commands. Before departing, he handed me his 2014 diary leaving me in a state of confusion. I looked at him, while he settled himself in his berth. His silence spoke a million words, “Take care Annie. I know you will get it right.” And he left with questions unanswered.
It was almost night, yet my sleep had lost its address. I opened the diary with curiosity blending in the same proportion as of my confusions. My journey began with a yellow rose and his initials. I turned the memoirs of January, capturing glimpses of his extreme trauma and sufferings. But this wasn’t something I was unaware of. I continued into February, welcomed by few blank pages initially. “He was under observation in Mumbai”, I recalled.

14 Feb, 2014
The day I met my airport friend...
Had we not bumped into each other today at the port, I won’t have known you.
Had we not sipped our first coffee today, you won’t have known me;
Had we not exchanged our numbers, we won’t have known each other...
Akku, a girl full of life. Encountering her evoked my senses in some unexplained rhythmic waves. Felt like knowing her for years. The first meeting and yet a memory I shall never forget!
“Akku? Who is she? He had never mentioned about her.” The next few pages were empty. I flickered through the crisp papers and realised many of them unfilled; just like his want for peace.
20 Mar, 2014
Days were passing in the same solitary manner, filled with nothing more than devastations until I got a sudden call from Akku.
“Sing a song, right now. No waiting!” she commanded.
“Tere mere sapne.. ab ek hi rang hain..” I sang and I could hear her smile loud enough.
Somehow, somethings changed in her presence. Her enthu helped me live more. Her dreams helped me not to forget mine. Akku, the super girl...
P.S. Do I need to know why?
Her giggles were reaching my ears. I took my cell phone and downloaded the song. Craziness can attack you at any hour!
It was 12.30am and my sleep buzzed its alarm.
The next day, after returning from the college, I grabbed my coffee. It made me smile, reminding of their first coffee meet! I took the diary. The rose though had lost its moist charm, it seemed exceptionally beautiful. But how?
23 Mar, 2014
She asked me to read, ’The Fault in our Stars’. I asked why.
“You are in pain. I understand. However, there is no rainbow until you deal with the rain. The grief shall not change you, but will reveal you.” She quoted the book.
I placed my order over flipkart, looking forward to read it soon.
I patted myself for having read it already.
‘The Fault in our Stars’ ... something haunted my mind. I tried to avoid it for the moment and continued.
03 Apr, 2014
Was not well. Returned from hospital yester night. Days are turning even more dreadful and nights seem scarier. It’s washing away all my hopes, eating me up to the core. Why can’t this all end!
I failed to respond to any of her calls and texts.
I closed the diary for a minute to prepare myself for anything worse. I couldn’t stop the fluctuating thoughts disturbing me. I took the cell and played the song I had downloaded. I could hear his innocence humming to the rhythm of the song.
I went to the balcony and saw the birds flying back to their nest.
“why don’t you share what’s troubling you?”
“Everything in this world has its own time Annie.” His words echoed.
I now realised his gifted time. Holding my tears within, I prepared to let his pain flow.

07 Apr, 2014
I talked to her today. Felt lively again. Is it her voice or her mysterious aura or her positivity towards life that casts a spell on my sick body?
Her untold faith helps me to live more. Her company adds to my desire of seeing the next dawn. Her each farewell tends me to wait for the conversation. What is it?
Something made me overwhelmed, “she knew his deteriorating conditions and he knew where his heart was leading to, yet the bond grew deeper and purer.”
13 May, 2014
A beautiful day indeed! She had travelled all the way to Hyderabad. She got me a yellow rose, I wonder why. Later I learnt that she loves yellow. She was overjoyed to know that I loved the book (It’s the usual she!). When I handed to her my book of, ‘A Walk to Remember’, she met her eyes with mine reading my thoughts to her very habit.
“A Walk to Remember’? I smiled to myself.
We walked a few miles, as per her wish, and then she departed.
“A walk I would remember forever...” she exclaimed.
My soul felt complete. It had found his new mate!
On turning the pages, I found some letters engraved within. I kept them aside for a while and continued my pace.
23 Jun, 2014
I am happy. Hope it’s not too bad to rejoice. The treatment’s responding well. I even got a new contract finalized today. Will start working on it soon. Does that mean my normal days are returning?
Akku gets almost all the credit. She raises my moral in her unique ways. She sings for me and scolds me too. She takes care of me, and reminds me to live. I am no more in dark, she’s the light to evade away all such darkness.
31 Oct, 2014
Why do we dare to dream something impossible? Why do we dare to plant something not obvious? What made me go blind to my cruel truth!
The PET scan revealed the monstrous truth. The tumour has spread in my upper region.
I doubt if I can fill you up anymore.
That was the end of it. He didn’t fill up anymore. I flickered through the pages again. Alas! There was nothing I left. But what happened to Akku? Suddenly I was choking with a peculiar an unknown fright. Without waiting any longer, I took those letters and opened them one by one.
“Akeera” it was penned on the cover.

23 May, 2014
My dear airport friend,
I read the book. Somehow I couldn’t stop myself relating us. The walk we had, has imprinted upon me. Thank u for fulfilling my wish despite your uneasiness. I dunno the exact reason, but I feel complete when I am around u. I don’t expect it back though.
P.S. “We had the most difficult walk anyone had to make. In every way, a walk to remember...”
I did not get it! Is this Akku? I matched the dates of the diary and looked for the rest before concluding.
30 June, 2014
I wish I could see u now, I wish we could meet now, I wish this letter would take the whole me near u. When u r low, it feels my life has lost its meaning. When u smile, somewhere I rejoice.
P.S. “I don’t think we’re meant to understand all the time... Sometimes we just have to have faith...”
Her postscripts were quoted from ‘A Walk to Remember’! She is relating themselves to each of the lines.
1 August, 2014
Is this something that I am meant to understand on my own? Why is such a huge silence between us? Why is this emptiness eating both of us? I know the invincible fate, thus I care to let it go. Though I cannot afford losing u... But did I ever gain u?
P.S. “Without suffering, there would be no compassion.”
Some how my haunted mind was being a captive of the obvious yet unwanted fact. The letter reflected her mirage; those eyes searching for the void and her smile aware of his silence. Yet her writings reflected hope.
31 December, 2014
The year is bidding,
And so is u...
Am I left alone,
Just like the dew?
Was I to refresh the dawn,
And later to be dried in the sun?
Was I not forever?
Am I none?
P.S. “I wish I could trade my life for you.”
15 January, 2015
I hear your each word, meaning its own farewell;
Yet my stubborn love, or shall I not call it love?
You did walk away, not hand in hand,
But miles alone;
Fulfilling each of our silent promises,
To let our love free...
To let me go...
To let me flee...
P.S. “I wished for a miracle to happen. It did. My miracle was you.”
Tears had its own dilemma. Why shall I cry? For whom shall I weep? I felt helpless. Among the various letters, I found another envelope woth nothing mentioned over it. Though my guts had lost its power and my heart was too heavy to digest anymore, I took the letter and remembered his words, “I know you will get it right.” I opened it.
Tears have dried since time immemorial,
Your imprints are still alive, drenched in soul of mine,
Gloomier and lonelier, days, months they pass,
Having sense of your deceiving presence,
My longings, they do last.
It was pouring that day,
 And my love drizzles to this day,
With your remembrance, and your memoirs,
Your promises are my survival;
With nothing to see through,
Not even you.
P.S. “Love is keeping the promise anyway.”
“You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world. But you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choice. Hope you too...”
- The Fault in our Stars
She deserved his reply. I did what my heart demanded of me right then.

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